By Erika Mathieu
Westwind Weekly News
The south zone will see a new partnership between the RCMP and Alberta Health Services (AHS) to improve approaches to responding to mental health-treated calls.
Known as the Regional Police and Crisis Team (RPACT), RCMP officers responding to mental health calls in the south zone will soon be able to lean on a registered AHS mental health nurse.
During the Sept. 15 County council meeting, RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Numan of the Coaldale/ Picture Butte detachments said the mental health nurse and RCMP member will be based out of Coaldale and serve the south region. “They are just getting up and running here, working with mental health nurse to be able to go and deal with mental health calls,” he said.
A statement made on behalf of AHS read, “RPACT offers a comprehensive approach to helping individuals in crisis. The collaborative support provided by RPACT results in increased safety for all involved and connects individuals to the appropriate resources for follow-up mental health treatment.”
Numan said the team will be instrumental in defusing situations which may otherwise escalate due to a lack of education or training on mental-health related crisis’. As confirmed by AHS, the partnership between AHS and the Alberta RCMP, “is comprised of AHS mental health professionals and Alberta RCMP officers, who will intervene, assess, de-escalate, refer and follow up with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.”
Numan called the formation of RPACT, “long-overdue.”
“At this time, AHS does not have a time frame for the Coaldale detachment, however, we work closely with RCMP and other policing agencies to provide opportunities where possible to ensure offers have a connection to mental health professionals should they need,” read a statement from AHS.