Toronto Police and Gerstein Crisis Centre extend the 9-1-1 Crisis Call Diversion Pilot Project for another year
November 2, 2022 By Blue Line Staff / Toronto Police Service
Nov. 1, 2022, Toronto, Ont. – The Toronto Police Service (TPS) and Gerstein Crisis Centre (GCC) will continue in collaboration to respond to those calling 9-1-1 with non-emergent mental health needs for an additional year. The pilot project is also operating beyond the initial pilot area (Divisions 51, 52 and 14) to serve all divisions, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
The 9-1-1 Crisis Call Diversion Pilot Project has been operational since October 4, 2021, with a GCC crisis worker co-located in the TPS 9-1-1 Communications Call Centre. TPS and GCC responders work collaboratively, but distinctly, to assist in the diversion of non-emergent mental health related calls away from a police response.
On average, the Toronto Police Service receives 33,000 mental health-related calls each year.
TPS call-takers evaluate incoming calls for diversion based on specific non-imminent risk criteria and transfer calls to the GCC crisis worker. The crisis worker can provide immediate support and intervention, along with referrals and connection to further services as needed.
If at any time a call requires a police response, the crisis worker can assist in the preliminary de-escalation until police and/or a Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) arrive. The crisis worker can also provide follow-up, even after a police response.
Over the last year, between October 4, 2021, and September 30, 2022, the pilot project successfully diverted 610 mental health related calls for service to the crisis worker co-located in the TPS 9-1-1 Communications Call Centre and police did not have to attend. Crisis workers also co-responded with police to 368 events in the pilot area. In the co-response role, crisis workers provide mental health support over the phone to the caller, with the focus of de-escalating the caller before police arrive on scene.
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