March 28, 2013 - 6:54 PM
By Jessica Wallace
RCMP are getting a different kind of backup these days.
A partnership between the RCMP and Interior Health has resulted in a two-man team operating under the name 'Car 40'. The alias consists of one registered nurse and one RCMP member both with a background in mental health.
They're trained to provide the right assistance at the right time - for special 911 calls dealing with a variety of situations from suicide to emotional problems or people with a history of mental health problems.
"This is a really exciting partnership for us," said Rae Samson, Interior Health's mental health and substance use manager for Kamloops. "Often we're recognizing that there's underlying mental health concerns and or substance use problems."
Const. Kale Pauls and community mental health nurse Kirk Sullivan, the Car 40 team, have been working together since November.
"For police the calls are not new, but however, the partnership of having a nurse right there with you for the assessment is something new and definitely needed and well-received by the (RCMP) members," Pauls said.
It starts with the 911 call. The team backs up general duty members and, if relevant, an assessment is made. They then determine where to take the subjects based on needs.
"When we looked at the stats, about 30 per cent of the mental health calls that police were going to were ending up in hospital," Pauls said.
While he could not say what this means money-wise for both the health system and RCMP, the team agreed it's more about the service provided to the clients.
"I think that we can go on beyond just responding to actually intervening and continuing with client's treatment plan," Sullivan said said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013