Kamloops non-profits selected to lead new mental health crisis response team | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops non-profits selected to lead new mental health crisis response team

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Two non-profit service providers have been chosen by the province to form and lead a crisis response team in Kamloops to help people in mental health and substance-use crises.

The Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society in partnership with Ask Wellness will be overseeing a Peer Assisted Care Team or PACT with the support of Canadian Mental Health Association BC.

Teams are made up of peers with lived experience and mental health professionals, who are trained to de-escalate mental-health crisis situations, provide trauma informed, culturally safe support and connect people to resources.

The teams help free police time to focus on crime and divert people from the criminal justice system.

“We are very happy for the support of the provincial government in choosing Kamloops with the PACT program we really appreciate it and are looking forward to working together to help make a better life for everyone,"  Kamloops Mayor Hamer-Jackson said in a release from CMHA BC issued this week.

In 2023, the province announced that new community-led crisis response teams will be added to help people in mental health and substance-use crises in Prince George, Kamloops and the Comox Valley.

The teams are led by a client-centred non-profit or charitable organization in an identified local community area. An expression of interest was sent to service providers who demonstrated their ability to provide a mobile crisis response service in their communities.

After an evaluation the provincial society chose the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society and ASK Wellness Society.

“Peer Assisted Care Teams represent another step closer to supporting the mental health and well-being of community members in Kamloops," Kamloops city councillor Dale Bass said in the release. "We at city hall hear about the gaps in our community and have learned how PACT can play a vital role in supporting us to bridge these gaps in service. PACT should be in every community in B.C.”

READ MORE: More homeless people leave Kamloops than arrive: provincial data

New service providers will start recruiting and training teams with the goal of launching the teams in late spring or early summer this year.

“The PACT model of care addresses the gaps that currently exist for those in need of mental health supports," Natasha Marshall with Secwepemc Child and Family Services said in the release.

"Removing barriers and meeting the individuals where they are at, this offers care that is anchored by compassion and focused on the individuals’ needs.”

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