Victoria, BC – Two additional officers will be joining the four ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) teams serving those in our community facing significant mental health challenges after Victoria City Council approved the funding request last night.
Comprised of nurses, mental health and social support workers and integrated with Island Health, these officers will join the four ACT teams and serve more than 320 clients in Victoria and Esquimalt. Before coming to the program, these clients often have high numbers of police interactions and are often in mental health crisis. The programs seek to stabilize these clients, and once stable, help them access housing and other supports in addition to navigating the criminal justice system if they have been charged with offences.
“This two-year pilot project will help those who need it most,” Acting Chief Del Manak said. “These officers will contribute in a meaningful way by assisting the integrated teams in preventing people who are very ill from spiraling into crisis.”
There are several methods in which the performance of this pilot project will be measured. One provision for approval of the funding is that VicPD reach out to the Downtown Service Providers and the Social Inclusion Advisory Committee and work with them to establish the performance metrics for the ACT pilot evaluation. In addition, the Department will continue to use the same matrix used by ACT: measuring pre- and post-interaction contacts with police and hospital admissions. Where criminal charges are warranted, recidivism will be measured through the Integrated Court. Referrals to the team from police will be measured, and a new early warning system that will help measure police contacts and health resource access will be implemented to help prioritize interactions with clients. Additionally, the Department is exploring partnerships with researchers and experts to measure efficacy, approach, scope of impact and highlight improvements.
For more information on VICOT and the ACT teams please see: http://www.viha.ca/mhas/locations/victoria_gulf/community/act.htm