Horizon’s Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Set to Launch

(SAINT JOHN) – Horizon Health Network and the Saint John Police Force are releasing new details in advance of the launch of Horizon’s Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team.

The unit is made up of trained mental health professionals from Horizon’s Mobile Crisis Response Team which, for the first time, will include two officers from the Saint John Police Force.

The expanded unit is due to launch on Monday, Oct. 19.

This innovative project was also developed in collaboration with representatives of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ).

The team will provide on-site acute addiction and mental health needs assessments, as well as specialized crisis intervention. The Mobile Crisis Response Team will also offer visits and check-ins for high-risk individuals in an effort to provide better support.

“Mental Health calls have certainly become more prevalent in the daily calls to the Saint John Police Force,” says Chief Stephan Drolet.

With the implementation of this Crisis Response Team, we are ensuring residents in need of assistance are receiving it as quickly as possible so evaluations are completed and best steps going forward for residents are put in place,” adds Chief Drolet.

The new officers who are being seconded to the team have been training for several months to ensure they will provide best practices and advice for residents. By working in plain clothes, similar units in other provinces have seen success through de-escalation processes.

The assigned officers will also receive specialized training and orientation in mental health crisis intervention techniques.

The Department of Health has earmarked $900,000 for this project over a three-year period.

Jean Daigle, Horizon’s Vice-President Community, said the organization is thrilled to partner with SJPF and UNBSJ on this project, which will serve as an enhancement to the delivery of mobile crisis response in the Saint John area while providing an additional layer of safety for staff and clients.

“By adopting this integrated model to our existing team in Saint John, it will help ensure our dedicated addiction and mental health professionals are able to carry out their work safely and efficiently while improving the level of cohesion with our community partners and, ultimately, providing better service to some of our most vulnerable clients,” Daigle said.

“We are hopeful this model of care can be expanded to Horizon’s other mobile crisis teams moving forward, as we truly believe it will make a profound impact in our communities.”

“I am so pleased to see the launch of the Integrated Mobile Crisis team in Saint John”, said Minister of Health, Dorothy Shephard. “This pilot project will answer the call for more support for the Saint John community.

While work had begun previously on this initiative, the mental health roundtables held last fall highlighted the urgency for action. I look forward to seeing the evaluation and how it might be expanded province-wide.”

 – 30 –

For more information contact:

Kris McDavid
Media Relations

Jim Hennessy
Media Relations – Saint John Police Force