Central Albertans experiencing a mental health crisis will now have more support through the expansion of a community-based mobile crisis team.
The Regional Police and Crisis Team (RPACT) is a partnership between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Alberta RCMP. It is comprised of AHS mental health professionals and Alberta RCMP officers, who will intervene, assess, de-escalate, refer and follow up with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
A team is now based in Rocky Mountain House will also serve residents of Blackfalds, Innisfail, Drayton Valley, Rimbey, Sundre and Sylvan Lake.
“As a former police officer, I know firsthand that it is essential to ensure that police have access to the resources they need to support Albertans who are struggling. This partnership will improve both community safety, and access to mental health and addiction care for Albertans,” said Mike Ellis, associate minister of mental health and addictions.
Staff Sgt. Colette Zazulak, who oversees Alberta RCMP Community Policing RPACT, said police are frequently the primary front-line response to mental health crises.
“The collaborative approach of police working with mental health professionals provides a level of clinical expertise that benefits the individual in crisis,” said Zazulak. “The work of RPACT has already been underway for several years within the Alberta RCMP and we look forward to continuing our efforts and partnerships for effective mental health response within our communities.”
Carla Prediger, director of addiction and mental health in AHS central zone, said that RPACT offers a comprehensive approach to helping individuals in crisis.
“The collaborative support provided by RPACT results in increased safety for all involved, and connects individuals to the appropriate resources for follow-up mental health treatment,” she said.
Mobilization of the RPACT team is determined through contacts to local RCMP detachments and through calls to 911.
AHS is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.