December 07, 2018

Police and Crisis Team Launched in Yorkton

A new Police and Crisis Team (PACT) has been officially launched in Yorkton.

PACTs pair mental health professionals with police officers, creating a mobile team that can de-escalate mental health crisis situations.  The teams have been credited for improving how frontline policing services respond to people experiencing mental health crises and connect individuals with the most appropriate services and supports.

“I am pleased to see PACT launching in our community,” Rural and Remote Health Minister and Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit said on behalf of Health Minister Jim Reiter and Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell.  “We have seen the difference that PACT is making in other areas of the province and know it will benefit Yorkton as well.”

PACT Yorkton is a collaborative effort between the Government of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), and the RCMP.

“The Saskatchewan Health Authority is looking forward to collaborating with our RCMP partners to respond in the moment with the right team, and in the best place for individuals experiencing crisis,” SHA Executive Director of Primary Health Care Jacquie Holzmann said.  “Programs such as PACT help to reduce pressures on hospital emergency departments and connect those in need with required health and community services.  This partnership is a step in the right direction to provide services that help people in need, when they need it the most.”

“The PACT Program will be a benefit to our community as community safety is more than police officers enforcing laws and making arrests,” Yorkton RCMP Detachment Commander S/Sgt. Jeff Simpson said.  “The Yorkton RCMP is pleased to see the expansion of the PACT program to our community.  Working in partnership with mental health professionals give us an opportunity to address some of the issues associated with public safety before they result in criminal activity.”

PACTs change the way mental health crisis situations are handled.  The goal is to provide the right kind of care to individuals who are better-served in the community, thereby avoiding emergency department visits and entry into the criminal justice system.

The Government of Saskatchewan has invested $980,000 in 2018-19 for the PACT program.  PACTs are now operational in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, North Battleford and Yorkton.

The Ministry of Health funding for this expansion comes from the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Funding Agreement.  Announced in January 2017, the federal government is providing Saskatchewan with close to $350 million over 10 years for targeted incremental investments in home and community care and mental health and addiction services.