A three-way partnership has been created that will lead to better outcomes for police and individuals during calls for service involving law enforcement.

The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SD&G) has agreed to fund a Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) registered nurse to support the SD&G detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) when it is apparent a mental health professional is required during a service call. The $120,000 funding arrangement, which covers a period of 12 months, complements the service agreement in place between the OPP and the hospital. Counties Council signed off on the funding agreement at its July meeting.

“This initiative is a great example of a partnership involving three local organizations to provide more resources to residents in need,” said Warden Frank Prevost. “County councillors fully support measures we can take that aid our police, and our residents, during situations that can be fraught with emotion.”

The CCH’s Mental Health Crisis Team (MHCT) and the SDG OPP entered into a partnership agreement to provide the SD&G residents with the most appropriate community-based crisis response during calls for service.

“The purpose of this collaboration is to ensure that the residents of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry have better health and wellbeing, by receiving the most appropriate and helpful community-based crisis response at the right time in the right places,” said Provincial Constable Jim Blanchette, an SD&G OPP Community Mobilization Officer.

“Calls for service involving mental health continue to rise annually and the severity of the mental health concerns that police encounter is increasingly more complex,” added SD&G OPP Staff Sgt. Simon Hardy. “Members of the SDG OPP are excited to have the opportunity to share in this collaboration with community partners who share our vision for safety and wellbeing. The MHCT will expand rural capacity to assist those with mental health issues in our communities. We believe that the MHCT will help enable us to provide the best response and care possible for our residents, our families and our friends.”

The completion of the funding agreement had been delayed as a result of the pandemic, but partners are now prepared to move forward. It has been shown that mental health professionals can provide insights and support during police service calls that result in beneficial outcomes for officers and individuals.

“Cornwall Community Hospital is pleased to work with it’s local partners like the OPP and the United Counties of SDG to support and help address the community’s mental health care needs,” said Jeanette Despatie, President and CEO of CCH. “Front-line response partnerships like these allow us to move forward on our vision of ‘Exceptional Care. Always’.”