Grant means an extra day on the beat for a crisis outreach officer

The COAST team is made up of a COAST police officer and a CMHA crisis worker

From South Simcoe Police

Innisfil Community Foundation (ICF) has extended its support of the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) with a $28,000 grant this month to provide additional support for Innisfil community members.

The COAST team is made up of a COAST police officer and a CMHA crisis worker who respond to crisis calls in the community. Working together to de-escalate situations and provide critical mental health support, this program is essential to help persons in crisis navigate support systems in our community. ICF is honoured to support this critically important program, in honour of fallen South Simcoe Police Constables, Morgan Russell and Devon Northrup.

This grant from ICF will put CMHA crisis staff on the road with a COAST officer for an additional day every week, ensuring people in crisis receive assistance when they need it the most. This marks the second year ICF has funded the program to ensure supports are available for an extra day in our community.

“This grant is providing us with the opportunity to continue to expand the COAST program,” said South Simcoe Police Chief John Van Dyke. “The need to assist people in crisis continues to grow in our communities every day. The grant gives the Crisis Outreach and Support Team more time to provide resources to people in need. With COAST providing appropriate resources, the person in crisis will be diverted from hospital emergency departments.”

COAST attends live crisis situations and provides support to people in crisis and their families. The team also conducts follow-ups with people in crisis and provides further needed resources in hopes of preventing people from going into crisis. A mental health professional and a specially trained police officer in plain clothes respond in an unmarked vehicle to situations involving individuals experiencing a mental health episode. The goal of this specialized team is to provide pre-crisis support and to facilitate referrals to appropriate community service providers, while diverting cases from hospital emergency departments to other care providers.

“COAST is a critical resource in our community, assisting our friends and neighbours in need, all while reducing visits to our overburdened hospitals,” says Sandra Rizzardo, Chair, Innisfil Community Foundation Board of Directors. “We are proud to fund this unique service for an additional day in 2023 and know many people will reap the benefits.”

About the COAST Program

The South Simcoe Police Service in partnership with York Support Services Network (YSSN) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Barrie provide mobile Crisis Outreach.
Launched in Bradford and Innisfil in 2017, COAST responds to all calls that involve: mental health situations, suicide-related incidents, suspected overdoses, occurrences involving persons experiencing adverse symptoms related to neurodevelopmental considerations, persons experiencing negative symptoms from dementia, and other pre and post crisis situations.

About the Innisfil Community Foundation

Innisfil Community Foundation is here to strengthen the common good. The foundation makes trust-based community grants to empower the organizations that work tirelessly in our community. Innisfil Community Foundation is passionate about connecting our community because we know that, together, we will create positive change beyond our wildest dreams.

Media Contact:
Whitney Sallach, CFRE
Executive Director Innisfil Community Foundation

Pictured (Banner image) from left, are South Simcoe Police Service Constable Mike Kayser, Sheena Garwood, Canadian Mental Health Association Simcoe County Crisis Services, Kerry Dault, Canadian Mental Health Association Simcoe County Crisis Services, Chief John Van Dyke, Anne Smith, treasurer for the Innisfil Community Foundation,  Anne Kell, president and secretary with the Innisfil Community Foundation, Sandra Rizzardo, Chair of the Innisfil Community Foundation, Sergeant Steve Black, Pastor Howard Courtney, vice-chair of the Innisfil Community Foundation.