People in B.C. will soon have access to new and expanded mental care teams support
B.C. residents will soon have access to more mental health support in three of the province’s major cities.
PACTs are civilian-led groups, and they provide mental support for those in crisis.
“These new peer-assisted care teams will support people in distress and connect them to the services they need, while freeing up valuable police resources,” Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, said in a press release.
Mental-health professionals and peer workers will respond to calls related to thoughts of suicide, anxiety, substance use, or any other mental health challenges, according to the B.C. government. The teams can either work alone or alongside police and other responders.
According to the Ministry of Mental Health, 20 per cent of interactions with police in B.C. involved someone with a mental health disorder.
“We need to ensure that we’re providing the right type of resources at the right time for people in crisis,” Nadine Nakagawa, councillor for the City of New Westminster, and chair of the PACT Working Group said in the release. “This pilot project is an immense opportunity for us to provide a compassionate response for vulnerable members of our community.”
The PACT service will be available in New Westminster and Victoria this year, while people on the North Shore can call (888) 261-7228 or text 778-839-1831. Services are available in both English and Farsi.
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