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New mental health policing model introduced in Labrador West and St. John’s

New Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland told The Telegram last week he doesn't think the organization is broken.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland. - SaltWire Network file photo

Plans in place to roll out ‘Memphis model’ in other areas of the province by end of year

LABRADOR WEST AND ST. JOHN’S, NL – New mobile crisis intervention teams in Labrador West and St. John’s are another step forward in breaking mental health stigmas, says Premier Dwight Ball.

The provincial government announced the introduction of the teams and a new policing model to respond to people going through a mental health crisis April 19, which also involves Eastern Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC).

Under the Memphis model, a mental health worker and a police officer working together in the community.

“We continue to support the changing face of mental health and addictions services in communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador,” Ball said in a news release.

Mental health training was provided to law enforcement officers throughout the province in recent month. The Memphis model is anticipated to be in place on the west coast and in the central region of the island by the end of this year.

“Mental health is not defined by geography. Introducing these teams will provide sensitive care to people in crisis. It is important to ensure access to these services wherever people live in the province,” Health and Community Services Minister John Haggie said.

The RNC and Eastern Health worked together to bring the Memphis model to St. John’s and its surrounding areas. The team is available 14 hours a day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The mobile crisis intervention team and the use of the Memphis model in Labrador City has been set up by Labrador-Grenfell Health and the RNC. The team is ready to respond eight hours a day from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Both teams can be reached by calling 911, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary or the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-737-4668.

“The Mental Health Mobile Crisis Unit will provide persons in crisis and their families the appropriate resources to assess their needs and deliver effective healthcare solutions,” RNC Chief Joe Boland said.

“Mental health is a health issue, and by removing a uniformed police presence during a non-violent mental health crisis, we’re able to better serve our communities’ needs in an un-invasive and professional manner while ensuring public safety.”

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