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OPP respond to mental health needs in the community

Nottawasaga OPP and York Support Services Network have been working together since 2017
Nottawasaga OPP Mental Health Support Team, comprised of PC Taylor-Plumley and YSSN Crisis Response Worker Steph Strilec, on Suicide Prevention Awareness day 2020. Photo provided by Nottawasaga OPP

TOWN OF NEW TECUMSETH, ADJALA-TOSORONTIO & ESSA TOWNSHIPS – The Nottawasaga OPP is committed to improving its response to the mental health needs of individuals within the communities we serve. When it comes to mental health, every organization, community and individual is affected in one way or another. The reasons are personal and not always known. We recognize that there is stigma associated with mental illness. Although we don't have all the answers, we will continue to work together to break down the barriers and provide support.

Many people may be experiencing added stress and we want them to know that there are numerous local agencies available to assist. Mental health and wellness go hand in hand, which is the premise of this media campaign. Mental health is something that affects us all. It is important that we continue to break the silence and encourage courageous conversations between family, friends, co-workers and members of the public, to establish a more non-judgmental and supportive working environment for all members. 

Since 2017, Nottawasaga OPP and York Support Services Network (YSSN) have been working together to provide local residents with support when they are experiencing a mental health and/or addictions crisis. Known as the Mental Health Support Team (MHST), comprised of a plain clothes OPP constable and a YSSN crisis response worker, the team responds to calls for persons in crisis within the Nottawasaga detachment area. They provide on-scene assessment, support and referrals to community services as required. 

One of the team's primary objectives is to bring crisis support to the person in crisis, rather than having to transport them to access help. While the constable ensures safety, the crisis response worker is able to speak with the person in crisis to better understand the reasons for the crisis, determine risks of harm, provide emotional support, discuss coping strategies, develop safety plans and/or make referrals to community resources.

If necessary, the MHST will assist with apprehensions under the Mental Health Act, and help people in crisis feel more comfortable with the process of being transported to a hospital for assessment. The team also provides follow-up support, primarily by means of telephone and/or face-to-face visits. The MHST attends a weekly meeting with representatives from several community agencies, called the Collaborate Nottawasaga Table, to discuss how to best support people facing difficult times, which helps reduce calls for service. 

The team is currently available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, anyone experiencing a crisis can connect with a crisis worker by calling YSSN's 24/7 Community Crisis Response Service at 1-855-310-COPE (2673). Text or live chat via is available from 7 a.m. to midnight. YSSN also offers face-to-face mobile support visits and short-term crisis beds. YSSN also has an intake team, Streamlined Access, for anyone seeking to be connected with mental health case management, housing or addiction supports in York Region and South Simcoe.

For information about this program, including the application for services, please visit or call 1-844-660-6602.