Recent events have exposed the tragic outcomes that can occur when people with mental illness experience a crisis in the community and are not able to get the care that they need. Racism and anti-Black racism compound these crisis interactions.
CAMH, along with our mental health system partners, has been advocating for years for measures to improve crisis care. It’s clear we need a new way forward.
Mental Health is Health. This means that people experiencing a mental health crisis need health care. Police should not be the first responders when people are in crisis in the community. Police are not trained in crisis care and should not be expected to lead this important work.
That is why CAMH is calling for a new direction in crisis care. This includes learning from international models where people in crisis are first met by mental health responders, making strategic investments in community mental health and intervening earlier to prevent crisis escalation.
For too long, the health care system has relied on police to respond to mental health crises in the community. Transformative change is needed to support a new way forward. People with mental illness and their families deserve better.