The Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (MHMCT) is a partnered crisis support service involving Capital Health, IWK Health Centre, Halifax Regional Police and the Nova Scotia Department of Health. The crisis team includes mental health professionals and dedicated police officers who offer confidential, non-judgmental crisis support. The MHMCT provides crisis support for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis. A mental health crisis could include thoughts of suicide, distorted or psychotic thinking, intense anxiety, overwhelming depression, or feeling unable to cope and out of control.
The objective is to provide intervention and short-term crisis management for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis. It offers telephone intervention throughout the Capital District and mobile response in areas served by Halifax Regional Police including Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford. The support is confidential, non-judgmental and respectful.
Public Safety Office
This is a cooperative co-response model for assisting people in a mental heralth crisis.
It was undertaken to create a more effective and efficient coordinated response to mental health issues.
Costs associated with this are primarily the ongoing cost of human resources related to staffing the unit. We have a formal partnership with Halifax Regional Police and a memorandum of understanding (MOU). In the MOU the financial arrangement is outlined. The Capital Health Mental Health Program—through the Mobile Crisis Team budget, pays Halifax Regional Police annually for about half the cost of four full-time-equivalent police officers. These officers work full time with MHMCT and are embedded in the service. This is a co-response model of policing and mental health. In turn, Halifax Police provide the four officers and two unmarked vehicles, including gas and maintenance. As part of this partnership, MHMCT provides all mental health training to Halifax police—recruits (3.5 days), lateral hires (one day), Block training (2.5 hrs twice a week from January to May every four to five years) and CIT 40-hour intensive mental health training twice a year at no charge.
Implementation was facilitated through an MOU signed by all partners. It began as three teams of officers/clinicians and expanded to four.
Key outcomes are to provide a coordinated response to mental health issues, reduce the number of police-related calls for mental health issues and reduce wait times in hospital emergency rooms. This initiative has met these outcomes. The MHMCT conducts over 1000 interventions per month. On average, only 20-25% of referrals come from police. That means the MHMCT is intervening with the other 75-80% of referrals before they get to the stage of becoming involved in activity that requires police attention.
The following outcomes have been observed: