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Mental Health Unit

In October of 2011, the VPD and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) committed to work together to improve the quality of life for their mutual clients who suffer from mental illness and problematic substance use and addiction.

The collaboration is aimed at reducing harm to clients and to the community, as well as reducing the clients’ involvement with the criminal justice system, law enforcement, and emergency health services.

The VPD's Mental Health Unit and involvement with the VCH Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams and the Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) were the result of this agreement.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Teams

Assertive Community Treatment teams, managed by VCH, began in January 2012, providing a full-service longer-term mental health program to their clients.

Teams focus on the well-being of clients who are experiencing challenges related to community living, and who have an extensive history of police involvement and high use of health services. They have high-risk behaviour and long-standing complex mental health issues.

ACT teams may assist with finding long-term 24/7 health care, support with life skills, job training, assistance with housing. and help maintaining physical and mental wellness.

There are 10 to 12 people on an ACT team, including psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, vocational counsellors, occupational and recreational therapists, and peer counsellors, among others. Two full-time VPD officers work with the teams, providing daily police support.

Assertive Outreach Team (AOT)

The Assertive Outreach Team began in March 2014, and a partnership with VCH, is made up of psychiatrists, nurses, clinical supervisors, and police officers. The Team provides short-term support for people with substance use and/or mental health issues while they go from the health or criminal justice system back into the community.

Team members collaborate to reduce violent incidents and self-harm, to prevent worsening quality of life, and to decrease involvement with the criminal justice system, by making sure their clients' needs are met.

Police officers play a larger role in the AOT than the ACT, including locating clients who may be at-risk and preventing issues before they happen.

Resources

VGH Access and Assessment Centre
711 W.12th Avenue
(604) 875-8289

This is the single point of access for Vancouver adults aged 17 and up who are having a mental health crisis or have had an incident involving misusing substances.

The Centre is open 24 hours a day. Anyone can walk in or call (604) 875-8289, including family members, and access health care services or have an assessment onsite.

Canadian Mental Health Association

Healthlink BC
8-1-1

Youth Resources

BC Children's Hospital
Mental Health Services

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre
(604) 875-2084

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