Those working in the justice system would see more mental health supports under a $37 million funding boost from the Province of Ontario.
Premier Doug Ford announced the funding commitment on Tuesday, saying the money would be used to expand mobile crisis teams and hire additional staff in 33 communities across the province. It was not immediately announced whether this includes Barrie. The funding is also expected to cover the costs of tailored programs for First Nations communities.
“Ontario’s police officers respond to tens of thousands of mental health calls a year and we need to make sure they have the right training, as well as extra support from professional mental health workers to respond to these calls, and save lives,” said Premier Ford. “Expanding our mobile crisis services will help those in crisis get the mental health supports they need, while ensuring our police and their community partners can work more effectively together and stay safe while handling these types of calls.”
Over $6.5 million will be committed to mobile crisis services across the province. These teams are designed to support those in mental health or addiction crisis instead of involving police services. Five million of the $37 million will be put towards safe bed programs that provide individuals in a mental health or addiction crisis a temporary place to stay with access to appropriate services. Over $14 million will be put towards supportive housing programs.
In addition, the province says it will be using evidence-based findings to build new tools and programs to support those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder or an occupational stress injury.