In Toronto, police officers are often called to respond to mental health crises. To begin to address this issue, Toronto hospitals and Toronto Police Services developed ‘Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams’ (MCITs), each of which has one psychiatric nurse and one police officer with specialized training. There are currently six MCITs working out of hospitals in Toronto.
MCITs are generally dispatched at the request of ‘primary response units’ (PRUs) – regular police officers who are already on the scene. In some cases, community agencies, health care providers or family members will call 911 and request an MCIT. (MCITs are almost always preceded or accompanied by PRUs, and only respond to non-violent situations.)
Currently, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network is working with hospitals and Toronto Police Services to improve and expand the MCIT program. To inform this process, the MCIT steering committee engaged researchers from the Centre for Research on Inner City Health (CRICH) to conduct an evaluation.