Car 60 program launches in Fort St. John on June 27…

FORT ST. JOHN, BC: A program that has been successful here in Prince George since 2015 is expanding to the Fort St. John RCMP Detachment area on June 27, 2022…

The detachment has dedicated the past 24 months toward initiating the Car 60 program to improve police response to mental health calls by partnering with Northern Health.

The Car 60 program is a mobile crisis response team which partners a police officer with a trained mental health worker to attend mental-health related calls. The partnership offers greater expertise in efforts to provide a directed response to persons experiencing a mental health crisis while delivering a high standard of care.

“People in crisis need to be met with urgent and compassionate mental health support,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. The Car 60 program in Fort St. John is just one more way the province is making sure that when British Columbians need help, they are able to access the support they need and deserve.

Covid-19 and the current increase of substance use seen by the community has been reflected in an increased number of mental health related calls during the past three years. During 2021, the Fort St. John RCMP responded to 493 mental health related files. Already in 2022, between January 1 and May 31, the Fort St. John RCMP has responded to 177 mental health related files.

The intersection between policing and mental health has been scrutinized in recent years, said Inspector Anthony Hanson. By initiating the Car 60 program the Fort St John RCMP is attempting to meet the increasing demands while providing improved service to our community.

By having a mental health worker partnered with the police, appropriate medical care is provided, the individual can be assessed on scene and resources referred as needed. The immediate benefit is that the mental health worker may access clinical history of the individual and existing care plans which can lessen the stress for the individual involved and expedite the care and support process. The collaboration between police and mental health worker will potentially lower demand on finite police resources.

“Supports such as Car 60 are vital to helping people with mental health and substance use challenges in communities across the North,” said Angela De Smit, Northern Health’s Chief Operating Officer for the Northeast. “The launch of this program adds to other ongoing improvements to mental health and substance use programs in our region, and means even more people will get the services they need and deserve on their pathway to recovery.”

Here in Prince George between 2015 and 2019, there was a 120 percent increase in the number of mental health calls.

Written and released by Fort St. John RCMP. We have removed a paragraph that states relevant information in another paragraph. View the full release for details.

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