Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)

‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Mental health crises are on the rise as Vernon police responded to more than 287 calls in the first five months of the year.

Officers are being called several times a day to mental health related complaints, something they aren’t happy with.

“We too agree that it’s not necessarily the police’s responsibility to deal with to all these mental health calls, but we’re the only people at the end of the day that end up going,” Supt. Shawna Baher said.

The detachment is working with Interior Health at designing a better process. Baher had initially asked about having a mental health designated car, where a public health nurse travels with an RCMP member, something that is done in Kelowna and Kamloops.

“I was told for the size of our jurisdiction it would not be possible.”

Baher admits that one car would likely not even be enough to deal with the amount of calls members are dispatched to.

READ MORE: RCMP and Interior Health working on mental health response

What she would like to see is something similar to a pilot project in Saskatchewan, where a mental health nurse is on staff at the dispatch centre.

”A nurse is able to help triage that call…maybe give you some tips and tricks on how to deal with the individual,” Baher said. “Or better yet, say ‘this isn’t a policing call, we’ll have the community nurse follow up with it.”

Mental Health Week (May 3-9), prompted the RCMP to encourage everyone to prioritize mental health and well-being.

Officers responded as first responders to aid those 287 individuals experiencing crisis between Jan. 1 and May 1.

The goal of each intervention is for safe resolution through compassion, understanding and empathy.

But police and all first responders are human, too, and not immune to the compounding emotional and psychological and emotional effects of involvement.

“All employees are encouraged to have regular check-ins with a mental health professional,” Baher said.

“We want them to have someone in place, someone familiar, someone they can trust, should the need arise,” she said. “All new members to the detachment are assigned a peer-to-peer mentor to ensure they are receiving any support they need and to help them establish good habits early on as they transition into their new career.”

The RCMP are reminding the public that “you are not alone.”

For additional information on resources and programs related to mental health, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website at cmha.ca or Mental Health Week at mentalhealthweek.ca.

READ MORE: 5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read