Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)

‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Mental health crises are on the rise as Vernon police responded to more than 287 calls in the first five months of the year.

Officers are being called several times a day to mental health related complaints, something they aren’t happy with.

“We too agree that it’s not necessarily the police’s responsibility to deal with to all these mental health calls, but we’re the only people at the end of the day that end up going,” Supt. Shawna Baher said.

The detachment is working with Interior Health at designing a better process. Baher had initially asked about having a mental health designated car, where a public health nurse travels with an RCMP member, something that is done in Kelowna and Kamloops.

“I was told for the size of our jurisdiction it would not be possible.”

Baher admits that one car would likely not even be enough to deal with the amount of calls members are dispatched to.

READ MORE: RCMP and Interior Health working on mental health response

What she would like to see is something similar to a pilot project in Saskatchewan, where a mental health nurse is on staff at the dispatch centre.

”A nurse is able to help triage that call…maybe give you some tips and tricks on how to deal with the individual,” Baher said. “Or better yet, say ‘this isn’t a policing call, we’ll have the community nurse follow up with it.”

Mental Health Week (May 3-9), prompted the RCMP to encourage everyone to prioritize mental health and well-being.

Officers responded as first responders to aid those 287 individuals experiencing crisis between Jan. 1 and May 1.

The goal of each intervention is for safe resolution through compassion, understanding and empathy.

But police and all first responders are human, too, and not immune to the compounding emotional and psychological and emotional effects of involvement.

“All employees are encouraged to have regular check-ins with a mental health professional,” Baher said.

“We want them to have someone in place, someone familiar, someone they can trust, should the need arise,” she said. “All new members to the detachment are assigned a peer-to-peer mentor to ensure they are receiving any support they need and to help them establish good habits early on as they transition into their new career.”

The RCMP are reminding the public that “you are not alone.”

For additional information on resources and programs related to mental health, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website at cmha.ca or Mental Health Week at mentalhealthweek.ca.

READ MORE: 5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

submitted
City of Mission hosting a virtual and in-person open house to explore Silverdale plan

It’s the first neighbourhood planning area of the larger Silverdale Comprehensive Planning Area

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read