Surrey RCMP photo

Surrey RCMP photo

Surrey Mounties responded to 3,064 mental health calls in first half of 2021

Of those, 862 involved suicidal people

Surrey Mounties responded to 3,064 mental health-related calls between January and June, with 862 involving suicidal people.

“When responding to situations where a person in crisis is threatening to harm themselves or others, the safety of all individuals, including our officers, is a top priority,” Constable Sarbjit Sangha said. “Specialized training for police includes crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques.

“Attempting to de-escalate and assist someone in crisis can take a matter of minutes, or in some cases, it takes hours of careful negotiations,” she added. “The goal is always to intervene in the safest way possible to get the person the medical assistance required.”

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In one case, Sangha said, police responded to a man who was sitting outside a Whalley business late at night, holding a knife to his own throat and threatening to kill himself.

“The Car 67 team was called to assist, and the nurse was able to provide information to officers to assist with the hour-long negotiations. The man eventually dropped the knife was safely apprehended under the Mental Health Act and brought to the hospital.”

The Car 67 program pairs Mounties with psychiatric nurses, in partnership with Fraser Health, to respond to mental health calls. Car 67 alone responded to 338 calls for service between January and June.

There’s a Fraser Health Crisis Line available 24 hours a day, at 604-951-8855 or 1-877-820-7444 if you or anyone you know needs help.

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