WINDSOR -- A Community Safety Grant is expected to help Windsor-Essex residents who call emergency services during a mental health and addictions crisis.
The Ontario government has announced the recipients on for the grant funding for 2019 through 2021.
The funding is $1.1 million over the next three years.
Essex County OPP say when an individual experiences a mental health crisis and access to crisis support and primary care is limited, the individual will seek out help from whomever is available.
Police and health care services are frequent recipients of these types of calls.
OPP say when the police are contacted and respond to a call for service in this category, they must adhere to specific laws and regulations and have limited training in mental health and addictions.
The police often take these individuals to hospital where formal assessments and dispositions are made.
In doing so, police say this does address the immediate personal safety of the individual, but is rarely the best option to provide a long term solution.
In June of 2019, a joint proposal was submitted on behalf of the five local OPP services boards serving the municipalities of Tecumseh, Lakeshore, Essex, Kingsville and Leamington, to enhance the response to individuals experiencing a mental health and addiction crisis in Essex County.
Two distinct grants were applied for and both have been unanimously approved.
These grants will work in addition to and in conjunction with Essex County OPP's current Amethyst Award winning Mental Health Response Unit, which involves a partnership between the OPP and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
The Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team will use a co-response model, which will include a uniformed OPP member and a crisis worker from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare to attend and de-escalate situations where persons over the age of 16 years are experiencing a mental health and/or addictions crisis.
The second grant is a youth based co-response unit similar to the first but designed to help those youth under the age of 16 experiencing a mental health and/or addictions crisis where historically there has been limited access.
This unit will be staffed by a uniformed OPP officer and a clinician from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare's Regional Children's Centre.