Civilian-led mental health crisis response teams will soon take to the streets in Toronto, Ontario. The Community Crisis Support Service teams will dispatch nurses and mental health support workers instead of police officers to respond to 911 calls about people in crisis. Such calls, which might include threatened suicides, a person in crisis, well-being checks, disorderly behaviour and disputes, will be diverted to 211, a helpline for community and social services, with the caller's consent. The teams will include nurses, mental health clinicians, addictions specialists, and people with lived experience who will be trained in de-escalation practices and harm reduction. All teams will also have case management staff who will refer callers to other organizations if longer-term support is needed. In 2020, Toronto Police responded to more than 33,000 person-in-crisis calls — the highest volume to date.

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