SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government is partnering with the Saint John Police Force to provide enhanced addiction and mental health crisis services.

The Department of Social Development will fund an Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team, a collaboration between the police force and Addiction and Mental Health Services, which will provide on-site acute addiction and mental health needs assessments, as well as specialized crisis intervention. The team will also offer visits and check-ins for high-risk individuals in an effort to provide better support.

“We are pleased to be able to support this project, which I feel is a welcome addition to the services already available in the Saint John region,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “This comes as a direct result of the mental health roundtables that were held last fall and earlier this year, and I am proud to be moving forward on recommendations from those meetings.”

The Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team is a pilot project with a budget of more than $900,000. The project will be carried out over the next three years.

“I have always believed there is strength in numbers,” said Saint John Police Force Chief Bruce Connell. “By working together, we maximize the benefits of each agency to provide the best service for the community.”

In addition, the department has assigned two child protection social workers who will work directly out of offices located at the Saint John Police Force headquarters at 1 Peel Plaza in Saint John.

Similar to a pilot project operating out of the Milltown Elementary School in St. Stephen, the social workers will be able to interact more closely with officers and will be readily available for consultation.