NDP MLA says new team will support people in mental health or substance use crisis in the Okanagan

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VERNON – New Democrat MLA Harwinder Sandhu says that people in a mental health or substance use crisis will have the support of mental health experts as a new Mobile Integrated Crisis Response Team (MICR) launches in Vernon and Penticton.

“As an MLA I frequently hear from people in our community looking for more options to turn to when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, and as a long-time health care professional I understand the importance of meeting people where they are at,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon – Monashee. “Expanding MICR teams to Vernon and Penticton will ensure that people who are struggling and are most vulnerable will be met with specialized care, support, and referrals to help them thrive.”

MICR Teams, formerly known as Car programs, pair a police officer with a health-care professional to respond to mental health calls made to the police. The teams provide on-site mental health assessments and crisis intervention, and can refer individuals to appropriate services in the community.

Built on partnerships between municipal police departments or local RCMP detachments and the regional health authorities, these teams help free up police resources to focus on crime.

The provincial government has committed $3 million to help fund the implementation of nine new teams across B.C. With communities now selected, health authorities and local police will begin planning together to recruit staff and put services in place as quickly as possible.

Learn More: https://news.gov.bc.ca/29212