The Saskatchewan RCMP is proud to announce the permanent addition of registered psychiatric nurses to its Operational Communication Centre (OCC).
The nurses provide assistance to 911 callers experiencing a mental health crisis and to Saskatchewan RCMP officers responding to scenes of mental health crises.
The program is becoming permanent following the completion of a 12-month pilot, which generated very positive results.
During the 12-month pilot:
- 99.8% of callers reporting a mental health crisis agreed to speak with the nurse.
- 80% of the callers assessed by a nurse immediately received referrals to be admitted to a mental health and/or addiction service,
- 71% of the callers assessed by a nurse avoided being driven by a police officer to an Emergency Department to get a diagnosis and/or treatment.
One caller stated: "This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you for being able to talk to me and get me help."
Another said: "I was treated like a person. To have someone there at the lowest point in my life really made a difference in how I got through the crisis and how I feel about the RCMP. Police officers haven't always been my best friends, but I understand now they are there to support me and offer me assistance."
A responding Saskatchewan RCMP officer said: "It feels nice to know, when going out on these calls, that we have someone in our back pocket with the expertise and knowledge to allow us to provide a valuable service and referrals for the people we see going through a crisis."
Another responding Saskatchewan RCMP officer said: "It is so helpful to have another option besides taking persons in crisis to cells or hospitals, when neither are great options most of the time. I am so grateful the nurses do thorough assessments and put in the supports right away."
Two additional registered psychiatric nurses have been recently added to the program, bringing the total of registered nurses offering mental health assistance through the Saskatchewan RCMP OCC to four. The last of the four nurses completed their third week with the Saskatchewan RCMP OCC today. The nurses in the Saskatchewan RCMP OCC are available Monday to Thursday from noon to midnight as well as Friday, Saturday and Sunday 24 hours a day.
Jocelyn James, Manager of the Saskatchewan RCMP Operational Communication Centre, says:
"We are extremely happy to see our project come to fruition. We worked hard to adapt a European model to the reality of Saskatchewan's remote regions, and to develop processes that allow two very different professions to work together. It was all well worth it. Today, the four nurses are fully trained, they have spent the last three weeks gathering experience and they are ready for the holiday season – the season during which, unfortunately, we see an increase in mental health calls every year. Having personally followed the nurses during the past year, I know the registered nurses in our Communication Centre will make a difference in the lives of people who call this season."
If you, or someone you know, are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911.
The Saskatchewan RCMP thanks the Saskatchewan Health Authority for providing the permanent funding, personnel and personnel support for this project.
The Saskatchewan RCMP OCC is the call centre receiving the 911 calls of residents in need of police service in small towns and rural areas across Saskatchewan. Located in Regina, the OCC receives over 350,000 calls for service from the public per year and as many requests from the over 800 Saskatchewan RCMP frontline police officers in more than 115 detachments and units across Saskatchewan. The OCC provides this assistance with a staff of between 6 and 12 operators and one nurse at a time.