Whitehorse Daily Star

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MOBILE RESPONSE STRATEGY – Car 867 is seen with the joint Department of Health and Social Services and RCMP Mobile Crisis Unit team in September 2022. Photo courtesy GOVERNMENT OF YUKON

Mobile Crisis Response Team marks a year on road

Oct. 31 marked the one-year anniversary of the Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT), also known as Car 867 – a collaboration between the Yukon government and the Yukon RCMP “M” Division.

By Whitehorse Star on November 9, 2023

Oct. 31 marked the one-year anniversary of the Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT), also known as Car 867 – a collaboration between the Yukon government and the Yukon RCMP “M” Division.

This initiative was developed in response to the need for specialized mental health crisis intervention. It now forms a part of the government’s response to the substance use health emergency declared in January 2022.

Car 867 pairs police officers with mental health nurses to offer immediate, specialized care to those in distress.

At its core, Car 867 strives to deliver trauma-informed, client-centred emergency responses.

The goal is to help steer individuals away from the criminal justice and hospital systems.

From Oct. 31, 2022, to Oct. 31, 2023, the Whitehorse RCMP detachment was involved in 716 incidents that included a mental health component.

Car 867 was the initial responder in 145 of these occasions (20 per cent) and was directly involved in 273 cases (38 per cent), assisting with both immediate responses and follow-ups, the government and the RCMP said in a statement Wednesday.

The presence of the mental health nurse within the team has led to effective assessment of the acute needs of individuals, and helps RCMP members in their duties to seek assessment of individuals at the hospital when needed.

The nurse can make effective referrals and connections to out-patient social and health services.

“The combined expertise of the Government of Yukon and the Yukon RCMP has been essential to the success of Car 867,” the statement said.

“The dedication of frontline police officers and mental health nurses has helped those facing mental health issues to receive the best possible care swiftly.

“The first year of Car 867 has shown its positive impact in Whitehorse and has assisted Yukon communities on an ad-hoc basis.”

The government and the RCMP are looking at options to expand the Car 867 team.

That commitment matches the goals set in the Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy, under the Community Safety and Wellbeing area of growth.

“The Car 867 initiative is a beacon of collaborative innovation between the Government of Yukon mental health professionals and the Yukon RCMP ‘M’ Division,” said Tracy-Anne McPhee, the minister of Justice and of Health and Social Services.

“In just one year, this partnership has showcased how, when we come together, we can offer effective mental health support to those in need.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Yukon RCMP and the Mobile Crisis Response Team for their unwavering dedication. Together, we are building a health care system that responds to the needs of all Yukoners.”

Over the course of the first year of the Car 867 initiative, added Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard, commanding officer, Yukon RCMP “M” Division, “we have begun to see the impact that strategically tailored and efficient responses have for individuals in crisis.

“As the initiative continues, we hope to see the overall safety and well-being of individuals and our communities at large strengthen.”

The MCRT frequently responds to cases involving individuals at risk of suicide or those with a diagnosed mental health condition.

The MCRT has also reduced repeat calls regarding specific clients, leading to more effective service and a reduction in unresolved reports to Whitehorse RCMP.

While the Yukon RCMP operates 24/7, Car 867 runs Mondays to Fridays, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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