Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (Synopsis)

Halifax Regional Police

Description: Under the direction of the Public Safety Office (also referenced in this catalogue), the Halifax Regional Police created a Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (MHMCT) in 2008. The MHMCT is a cooperative co-response model for assisting people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The team is made up of mental health professionals and dedicated police officers who offer confidential, non-judgmental crisis support for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis. The MHMCT offers telephone intervention and mobile response in areas served by the Halifax Regional Police, including Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford. There are currently four teams of officers and clinicians.
Objective: The objectives of the MHMCT are to provide a more effective and efficient coordinated response to mental health issues, reduce the number of police calls for issues related to mental health and reduce wait times in hospital emergency rooms.
Outcomes: This initiative has reduced the number of police calls for issues related to mental health. The MHMCT conducts over 1,000 interventions per month. On average, only 20–25% of referrals come from police. This means that the MHMCT is intervening in 75–80% of cases before they get to a stage that requires police attention.

This initiative has led to shorter wait times at hospitals for mental health assessments. More people are reaching out to the MHMCT and there has been a decrease in repeat users. A formal external evaluation of the MHMCT indicated that the integrated unit resulted in increased use by people in crisis, families and service partners. With the MHMCT, both call-to-door time and the time spent on scene have been reduced.
Resources: The primary cost associated with the MHMCT is the ongoing cost of human resources required to staff the unit. The funding agreement for staffing is outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed by all partners. The Capital Health Mental Health Program provides annual funding for half the cost of the four police officer positions. The Halifax Regional Police provides the four officers and two unmarked vehicles, including gas and maintenance. As part of the partnership, the MHMCT provides mental health training to Halifax Police Service at no charge.
Province: Nova Scotia
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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