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Horizon’s Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Set to Launch

Fri October 9, 2020

Horizon Health Network and the Saint John Police Force are releasing new details in advance of the launch of Horizon’s Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team.

The unit is made up of trained mental health professionals from Horizon’s Mobile Crisis Response Team which, for the first time, will include two officers from the Saint John Police Force.

The expanded unit is due to launch on Monday, Oct. 19.

This innovative project was also developed in collaboration with representatives of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ).

The team will provide on-site acute addiction and mental health needs assessments, as well as specialized crisis intervention. The Mobile Crisis Response Team will also offer visits and check-ins for high-risk individuals in an effort to provide better support.

“Mental Health calls have certainly become more prevalent in the daily calls to the Saint John Police Force,” says Chief Stephan Drolet. “With the implementation of this Crisis Response Team, we are ensuring residents in need of assistance are receiving it as quickly as possible so evaluations are completed and best steps going forward for residents are put in place,” adds Chief Drolet.

The officers seconded have been selected by a committee comprised of representatives from SJPF, UNBSJ and Horizon Health. Prior to being deployed, officers will receive specialized training and orientation in mental health crisis intervention techniques, including de-escalation. Officers will be paired with specialized nurses and working in plainclothes to build on the best practices of similar type units across the country.

The Department of Health has earmarked $900,000 for this project over a three-year period.

Jean Daigle, Horizon’s Vice-President Community, said the organization is thrilled to partner with SJPF and UNBSJ on this project, which will serve as an enhancement to the delivery of mobile crisis response in the Saint John area while providing an additional layer of safety for staff and clients.

“By adopting this integrated model to our existing team in Saint John, it will help ensure our dedicated addiction and mental health professionals are able to carry out their work safely and efficiently while improving the level of cohesion with our community partners and, ultimately, providing better service to some of our most vulnerable clients," Daigle said.

“We are hopeful this model of care can be expanded to Horizon’s other mobile crisis teams moving forward, as we truly believe it will make a profound impact in our communities.”

“I am so pleased to see the launch of the Integrated Mobile Crisis team in Saint John”, said Minister of Health, Dorothy Shephard. “This pilot project will answer the call for more support for the Saint John community.

While work had begun previously on this initiative, the mental health roundtables held last fall highlighted the urgency for action. I look forward to seeing the evaluation and how it might be expanded province-wide.”

Jim Hennessy
Manager of Communications/Public Information
Saint John Police Force

1-506-632-6138

Kris McDavid
Senior Communications Advisor Media – Horizon Health Network

1-506-857-5552