Developing Mobile Crisis Response Teams: A framework for Ontario
A framework designed to provide police services and their collaborative health partners in communities across the province with the tools necessary to establish effective mobile crisis response teams to support individuals experiencing a crisis. Now available for download:
Tools for Developing Mobile Crisis Response Teams in Ontario
A complementary toolkit which provides templates and resources to assist communities to establish or enhance their own Mobile Crisis Response Team. Now available for download:
About the Mobile Crisis Response Teams Framework and Toolkit Project
As emergency responders, police officers are often the first to arrive on the scene and interact with an individual who may be experiencing a mental health and/or substance use crisis. Over the past 20 years in Ontario, police services and mental health and addictions providers have come together in local communities to develop and implement various integrated models of mobile crisis response. This includes a substantial increase in new mobile crisis response teams (MCRTs) in Ontario since 2015 without provincial guidance for a common approach. Since that time, additional models of mobile crisis response have also been developed in response to community needs.
For the past three years, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have co-chaired a provincial working group which included representation by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Solicitor General and has been supported by the Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee (P-HSJCC). This provincial working group was comprised of police services and health partners with expertise in developing and delivering integrated mobile crisis response services. Working group members came together to better understand the role, structure, efficacy, and function of mobile crisis response teams in Ontario.
The result of this collaboration is Developing Mobile Crisis Response Teams: A Framework for Ontario, a resource designed to provide police services and their collaborative health partners in communities across the province with the tools necessary to establish effective mobile crisis response teams to support individuals experiencing a crisis. The framework is a guidance document, and remains flexible to the needs of local communities, various types of mobile crisis response models, and service providers. The accompanying toolkit, Tools for Developing Mobile Crisis Response Teams in Ontario, provides templates and resources communities can use to establish or enhance their own MCRT.
The general purpose of MCRTs is to de-escalate situations where an individual may be experiencing a mental health, neurodevelopmental and/or addictions crisis. In addition, these teams aim to:
- Improve client outcomes by providing community assessment to determine links to appropriate community services
- Divert individuals from unnecessary criminal justice system involvement and reduce pressures on the court and correctional systems
- Divert individuals from unnecessary hospital emergency department visits and reduce pressures on the health care system
- Mitigate the impact on police resources in relation to mental health and addictions crisis response
- Improve individual and/or caregiver experiences
- Decrease stigma of individuals living with mental health and/or addictions issues
- Build and maintain effective partnerships between police services, health care providers and community
The Ministries of Health, Mental Health and Addictions, and the Solicitor General have endorsed and recommended the use of the Framework and Toolkit.