Responding to people in crisis

Police officers are often first on scene when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. First responders need empathy, patience and awareness when responding to these situations. Crisis intervention and de-escalation skills can help reduce risk to the individual, public and first responders.

Mandatory training for crisis intervention

We've strengthened crisis intervention and de-escalation training for all of our officers. Mandatory training helps them determine when and how to use crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques. This training complements what cadets learn at the RCMP Training Academy, as well as other training offered in RCMP divisions and detachments.

Incident Management Intervention Model

RCMP officers use the Incident Management Intervention Model when interacting with the public. The Incident Management Intervention Model emphasizes communication and de-escalation.

Situations involving people in mental health crisis are complex and dynamic. Even in situations where we can use crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques, other intervention methods may still be required.

Mental health response resources

Some communities across Canada have mobile mental health support and outreach services, typically in the form of a psychiatric nurse. Mobile mental health resources aren't available in all jurisdictions. This often leaves RCMP members to deal with these calls unsupported.

Like other police agencies, we're very supportive of a collaborative approach for mental health clients, and for individuals experiencing symptoms of distress or addictions. Establishing these types of joint mental health responses depends on resources and support from provincial and municipal health services.

Our national policy states that members should consult with mental health personnel first, where:

  • a joint mental health response is available
  • situational factors permit
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