Sask. RCMP add psychiatric nurses to help with mental health, addictions calls

Officers will be able to talk with a nurse by phone to assist with people in crisis

Scott Larson · CBC News · Posted: Jun 10, 2021 11:59 AM CT | Last Updated: June 11

RCMP officers will be able to call a psychiatric nurse to get help when responding to calls concerning mental health or addiction. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Saskatchewan RCMP will now be able to get help from a psychiatric nurse when they attend mental health calls.

RCMP have added two psychiatric nurses, who will be based at its Regina Operational Communication Centre (OCC), for a 12-month pilot project.

“We hope the addition of these two psychiatric nurses … gives us the opportunity to demonstrate an increase in de-escalated crises, referrals to community resources, health-care follow-ups, and cases diverted from emergency rooms and police cells,” said C/Supt. Bangloy, officer in charge of Saskatchewan RCMP criminal operations department, in a news release.

The two nurses will be stationed at RCMP’s Saskatchewan headquarters in Regina. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Officers will be able to talk to a nurse by phone when dealing with people experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis.

The nurses will be able to provide mental health crisis intervention, assessment, support, recommendations, information and referrals.

They will also be able to speak to the individual in crisis and help them connect to community resources based on need.

RCMP say the goal is to send people to the proper care within the community and avoid trips to the emergency department or jail.

The nurse will also be able to speak to the individual in crisis and help them connect to community resources, RCMP say. (Stuart Forster/Shutterstock)

The nurses will be available in all RCMP jurisdictions in Saskatchewan, except where the Police and Crisis Teams (PACTs) are already in operation (currently in North Battleford, Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Estevan).

PACTs are a collaborative effort between the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and police services in the province where officers are paired with a mental health professional to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. 

The RCMP said the SHA and RCMP will not share their respective information systems. 

Interventions will be conducted in accordance with the Saskatchewan Health Information Protection Act and the Canadian Privacy Act, said the news release.