New  Partnership for Mental Health

A significant number of calls for Police help often end up transporting an individual to the Hospital for “Mental Health” reasons.  One of the health goals of the Central East Local Health Integration Network (Central East LHIN) is to help individuals remain in their communities and homes – that is, look after people before their problem reaches a crisis stage and before they need to go to a Hospital.  A new partnership between the OPP, Cobourg Police and community health providers will mean that people with mental health or addictive issues can get assistance sooner.  Funded by the LHIN and called M-HEART (Mental Health Engagement and Response Team), existing Mental Health Response Officers will be accompanied on ride-along with new M-HEART Social Worker and/or Mental Health Nurse resources to jointly and proactively engage with individuals in the community with mental health and/or addiction issues.

A press release from the OPP, Cobourg Police and Northumberland Hills Hospital said that:

The new M-HEART clinicians will provide a mix of supports, including intensive case management, mental health therapeutic treatment, family supports, assertive outreach, advocacy, linkage to hospital-based resources, linkage to community resources (including multi-sector supports, such as income assistance and housing support), as well as primary care connection, all with an aim to support longer term stabilization of a vulnerable population.

Additionally, in the case of the new Mental Health Nurse, medication administration, monitoring and metabolic monitoring will be available immediately in the field.

The implication is that there will be a newly hired Mental Health Nurse and a Mental Health Social worker – that’s what the LHIN funding is for.

Linda Davis, NHH President and CEO  said:

“Despite existing programming to support individuals in crisis, in calendar year 2017 NHH saw over 1,100 mental health-related visits in our Emergency Department. Similar programs in other jurisdictions have shown this model to be a win-win-win situation for all involved: police, health care providers and mental health/addiction clients,”

Police Chief Kai Liu
Police Chief Kai Liu

According to Jennifer Cox, NHH Manager of Mental Health and Lisa Darling, Detachment Commander for Northumberland OPP, expected benefits are:

  • Bring care to individuals in need in Northumberland—versus waiting for them to come to us
  • Better connect them with community supports
  • Use of a street-level approach to hopefully promote lasting recoveries
  • Increased capacity of limited resources through improved coordination, collaboration and connection.
  • Empowerment of individuals and their families to participate in care planning
  • A reduction of Emergency Department visits and repeat visits
  • A reduction in inpatient hospital days,
  • A reduction in repeated police involvement,
  • Reduced reliance on income supports
  • An increased participation in community activities/supports.

Cobourg Police Chief Kai Liu said:

“Effective mobile crisis intervention prevents situations from escalating to a point that options are limited.  This partnership allows for a collaborative approach for people in crisis acting as a gateway to a vast array of support. This intervention model puts the right people in the right place to best serve our community.”

The new program is scheduled to start “this spring” and will operate 5 days per week. It will cover all of Northumberland – except Port Hope. It is hoped to expand it to include the Port Hope Police Service in the near future.


Full Press Release

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Walter L. Luedtke
6 years ago

“a gateway to a vast array of support”?
Time will tell.
Meanwhile very elderly Seniors spend days and nights behind curtains in cramped cubbyholes in Emergency.
There are spacious rooms with doors there but they are only for mental patients.

6 years ago

Deborah is absolutely Correct most of Northumberland gets it real help in Peterborough or Durham .
These Socialite Practitioners in Northumberland sure can come up with a lot of Fancy names and Pros for minimalistic programs
( M Health ) etc where are the real psychiatrists hiding when you need them Do we even have 1 or 2 on staff
or are they just students ?
Ask to see your practitioners degree or field of education . A sports injury physician is not a Mental Health
Practitioner nor is a Smoking Clinic Councilor / student of something practicing in Northumberland Mall.
Time to stop taking money out of the system just because its there and see to it that public gets the benefit
of these programs when its needed and where its needed and thats usually in the Home or on the street .

6 years ago

Unfortunately programs cannot effectively deal where it is most immediately needed. This occurs when there is a refusal or unwilliness to participate.

Deborah OConnor
6 years ago

It’s a very good beginning to finally improve services for those with mental health problems. For many years the Central East LHIN has seriously under-funded these programs in our local region. Two points to maximize results will hopefully be in place from the get-go.

First, let the mental health workers take the lead in approaching people in crisis. It’s what they are trained to do and the police officers can learn much by observing their style of communication.

Second, and arguably most important, operate this program outside of standard week-day hours. Crises have a way of occurring in the evenings and night times, weekends and holidays – a program that knocks off for the weekend at 5 pm isn’t much use to those people who need help. For years our hospital has declined to expand the hours of those services and people who call after hours get nothing but a referral to call a toll-free number for a few minutes of quickie counselling. A funding issue is only part of the reason. It’s past time that failure was corrected, for the good of the community and all the people in it.

6 years ago

good idea….