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CAMH is urging public not to call the police with mental health emergencies

Do not call the cops with mental health emergencies


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto are urging to not call the cops with mental health emergencies. 

In a public statement on cop interactions with people with mental health crises Tuesday morning, the centre states a new direction is needed in crisis care. This is in order for mental health emergencies to be adequately and safely addressed.

“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,” reads the statement.

“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 comes hot off the heels following the death of Regis Kornchinski-Paquet. She fell to her death from the 24th floor of a Toronto apartment building while police were performing a wellness check on her.

Last week, Malton police shot and killed a 62-year old man with schizophrenia named Ejaz Ahmed Choudry while he was in an obvious state of distress.

“Mental Health is Health. This means that people experiencing a mental health crisis need health care,” notes the statement.

“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.”

The centre hints it’s important to invest in community mental health resources and intervene 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,” they wrote.

“People with mental illness and their families deserve better.”

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