Waypoint/OPP partnership proving itself in mental incidents

Having a mental health crisis is not a crime

Three months into a six-month pilot project a partnership between Waypoint Centre for Mental Health and Southern Georgian Bay OPP has proven its worth.

Under the program, mental health nurse Owen Hurst and provincial constable Jeff Dorion respond to incidents with a mental health component in the hope of reducing hospitalization and police involvement.

“The MHRU assists community members when they are in crisis and more importantly following a crisis; reducing the cyclical effect of police calls for service and hospital emergency department visits. The benefits to this program are very far reaching.”
– S/Sgt Lee Jeannotte

The hope is for this pilot project to provide appropriate services to community members in crisis, support the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment with clinical skills and expertise, focus OPP resources where needed, reduce pressures on the local emergency department and work collaboratively to have a positive impact on those community members facing a mental health crisis.

If a call occurs when the MHRU is not available, the responding officer may transfer the file to the MHRU to provide the follow-up and support.

Hurst says working with police has been amazing; that there has been a tremendous amount of positive feedback and support for this pilot project from clients and their families.

As for Dorion, it has been opportunity to combine his 20 years of policing and 8 years as a psychiatric nursing assistant noting there has been a dramatic decrease in calls to police from those that the Unit has assisted.