Demand for Mobile Mental Health Crisis Teams across the province has increased since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
Each crisis team consists of a mental health care worker—such as a social worker or registered nurse—as well as a police officer.
The service has already been established in St. John’s, Corner Brook, and Lab West with resources from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. However, a new partnership with the RCMP will result in new teams set up in Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
RCMP Sergeant Paul Peddle says there have been over 5,000 calls for service for the crisis team in the last two years. The unit responds to a variety of scenarios that would normally have been answered by police alone.
Those calls could range from someone who is feeling low, to a situation that requires immediate crisis intervention.
Sergeant Peddle says while RCMP have not seen an increase in calls since COVID-19 lockdown measures began in March, demand for the Mobile Crisis Unit has increased.
He says it’s hard to say at this stage if that increase is connected directly to COVID-19.