Campbell River RCMP outline their approach to mental health calls

Recent events have spurred discussion of police interactions with people suffering from mental health concerns

The Campbell River RCMP have offered some insight into how officers deal with calls involving mental health issues.

Recent events in Canada have spurred a lot of discussion in terms of police and interactions in regards to people who are suffering from mental health concerns or are in crisis, a statement released by the Campbell River RCMP detachment says.

Many of the calls to action are already part of the way events and training are being conducted. The RCMP say that does not mean things cannot be improved upon, but in the spirit of understanding and partnership, they have released information to explain how calls are presently dealt with, the training officers have and what the public can do to ensure successful interactions.

All members of the Campbell River RCMP are trained in crisis intervention and de-escalation. Some officers have additional backgrounds as well, like increased mental health training, social work backgrounds, and training involving people with differentiated mental abilities.

Often times the RCMP will respond to a call that is identified as mischief or a disturbance and upon intervention by the police officers, it’s determined that what police have actually been called to is a mental health crisis. In situations such as these, RCMP members work with their partners at the Vancouver Island Health authority to determine the best course of action for the individual. At times this may mean transportation by BC Ambulance to hospital, referral to various support agencies in the area, or in cases where the person may be a danger to themselves or others, they may be apprehended by police under the Mental Health Act.

When an apprehension occurs, the subject must see a doctor. This could mean that police take the person to the hospital themselves or accompany the person in an ambulance depending on the situation. In situations like these, the use of any force is an absolute last-resort scenario.

“It’s extremely important for us,” said Const Tyre, “to get as much information about a subject as we can prior to attendance at a call that may involve mental health. Sometimes what a caller will tell us can be very limited as the person they’re calling about is a stranger. In other instances, family members or close friends call. The more information we receive from these callers, the better the understanding we have of how to have a positive interaction.”

Information that can help is:

• whether the person has any diagnosed mental health issues

• are they on medications/drugs and what kind?

• what is their relationship like with police?

• have they had a brain injury in the past?

• what could have triggered the behaviour that is causing the call?

• does the person have access to weapons?

Calls for people in crisis are quite common, and are usually resolved without any negative interaction. With more information from a caller, the police can ensure that a Mental Health call has a positive outcome.

When police first arrive, they will try and ensure the safety of everyone involved and may ask bystanders or even family members to move away. Contrary to a common belief, it’s not to hide anything. Unfortunately, in many cases, the person who calls, friends, or family may actually escalate a situation by their actions. If the officer gets the opportunity to talk with the person in crisis it may be possible to determine if those close to them will be helpful or will escalate a situation.

What is not commonly understood, is that police usually only become involved in mental health when a person has already had a negative social interaction with someone else. This does not necessarily mean they’ve done anything illegal, but their actions have pushed the boundaries of societal norms and it’s been noticed by someone.

When someone is experiencing mental health difficulties, there are several options for help available in Campbell River. The local hospital has crisis nurses on staff, there is a mental health and addictions office and your family doctor can assist you with finding the right treatment to fit your particular situation. Ideally, these resources should be accessed before someone reaches a crisis point, but a lot of people will choose to attempt to manage their problems privately and those closest to them will not find out until things reach a crisis point.

“Sadly, that’s part of the stigma of mental health difficulties we as a society have to overcome,” said Const. Tyre. “If we are more comfortable sharing our problems with those that care about us and can reach out early, it helps to prevent crisis. Personally I will share my own battles with PTSD with many clients just to let them know it’s okay to talk about what’s going on and that talking about difficulties is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Local Area Resources:

• Mental Health and Addictions Campbell River: 250-850-2620

• Campbell river Hospital Crisis Nurse: 250-286-7159

• MIND HEALTH BC Crisis Line 1-800-784-2433

If you are someone you know is in crisis and you feel they may be a danger to themselves or others, please contact the RCMP.

RELATED: Campbell River RCMP seek meat thieves but scoop up drug suspects

RELATED: Domestic assault suspect apprehended by Campbell River RCMP

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

mental healthRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Museum at Campbell River and Greenways Land Trust are hosting a virtual talk by UVIC PhD candidate Garth Covernton on Nov. 5. Tickets are only $7 and are available at crmusum.ca. Photo courtesy Garth Covernton
New Museum at Campbell River speaker series leads off with talk on microplastics

Tickets for digital event Nov. 5 are only $7 and include the opportunity to ask questions

North Island Votes. Campbell River Mirror graphic
Babchuk declared winner in North Island

Nearly three-quarters of votes counted and mail-in ballots still to come

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read