Interventions for Mentally Ill Individuals under Law P-38 (Synopsis)

L’Assomption/Saint-Sulpice Police Service

Description: Police are increasingly called upon to intervene in situations where people with mental health issues are a threat to themselves or others, as discussed in Law P-38 (An Act Respecting the Protection of Persons Whose Mental State Presents a Danger to Themselves or to Others). In 2005, L’Assomption/Saint-Sulpice Police Service launched an initiative to involve social workers from the Lanaudière Social Services Agency in such cases.

The social workers are co-located within the L’Assomption/Saint-Sulpice Police Service facilities and work every day, and in the evenings, overnight and on weekends. They intervene at the request of police, evaluating individuals in crisis who may pose a danger to themselves or others. If an intervention is needed, the individual in crisis may receive medical care or may be referred to social services.
Objective: The objectives of this initiative are to intervene more quickly and efficiently in cases where individuals in crisis may pose a danger to themselves or others, and to reduce time spent on interventions by police officers.
Outcomes: Anecdotal evidence suggests that this initiative has achieved its targeted outcome, which was to reduce the time spent by police officers on each intervention. Social workers become involved earlier in the intervention process, thus freeing officers’ time for other police work. There are about 50–60 intervention cases per year. Before this initiative was implemented, each intervention would have taken about two hours for two officers. With this initiative, interventions now take 30 minutes for the two officers.
Resources: No new policing resources were used for this initiative because existing social workers from the Lanaudière Social Services Agency were assigned to the initiative.
Province: Quebec
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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