Police, mental health and justice system partners are meeting to share ideas to improve their responses to those living with mental illness.
Halifax Regional Police and Community Policing Partners, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team and Capital Health Addictions and Mental Health Program are co- hosting a National Police and Mental Health Roundtable today and tomorrow, June 6 and 7, in Halifax.
The theme, ‘Putting the Pieces Together,’ is indicative of the purpose of the conference–sharing knowledge, building capacity and reporting on training initiatives related to mental health. These important discussions will enable the various organizations involved in addressing mental health in our communities to learn from one another and gain valuable insight as to how we can further collaborate and strengthen our overall response.
“It is clear that police have a role to play in the stewardship of our citizens’ public safety and mental health, but it requires a collaborative effort,’ says Chief Jean-Michel Blais of Halifax Regional Police. “While we have been lauded for this collaborative approach in HRM, particularly because of our Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team, the onus is on all of us to be vigilant in continuously educating ourselves and sharing information about best practices, which is what has brought us to the roundtable.”
The presentations of the roundtable will highlight how the work of mental health, justice and policing often intersect one another as well as that of many government agencies and community partners. Topics include warrant-less entry, availability of crisis services and mental health training initiatives resulting from the Hyde Inquiry. The rural Nova Scotia experience will also be discussed.
“We know from our work on the province’s mental health and addictions strategy that we must learn from our past experiences, and that it takes a coordinated effort to provide consistency and equity in these services,” said Justice Minister Ross Landry.
“This national forum is the perfect opportunity for us to share our experiences, lessons learned and best practices, and use these new perspectives to improve our own services.”
There will also be a special presentation, Stand Up for Mental Health, which will be led by Wayne Schnare, Healthy Minds Cooperative, along with a live demonstration by a team of locally trained stand-up comics.
The round table is being held at the Halifax World Trade and Convention Center with 80 registered participants from across Canada.