• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Adding Mental Health Workers to OPP Communications Centres

June 22, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $8.4 million over three years in a new Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Crisis Call Diversion Program. This program will help police offer the most appropriate response to calls from individuals experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, which may include diversion to appropriate mental health services. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy. “Our government is proud to take steps to enhance care for mental health and other acute crisis situations through the Crisis Call Diversion Program,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “By offering critical crisis response services, dedicated mental health and addictions specialists will ensure individuals experiencing a crisis can access immediate supports while diverting the need for police interventions in non-emergency situations.” The Crisis Call Diversion Program consists of a professional mental health and addictions crisis worker who will be embedded into each of the OPP Provincial Communications Centres. Once assigned to the call, the crisis worker can assist individuals experiencing a crisis by providing resources and tools, offering referrals and helping them navigate the mental health system for help. Alternatively, the crisis worker can also provide support and assist in preliminary de-escalation when a call has been assigned to a police officer. Successfully piloted at the OPP London Communications Centre, the program has been assisting individuals who call in with a variety of acute crisis situations including, but not limited to, mental health or substance use issues, relationship conflicts and family concerns. The program has now been implemented at a s