Crisis line call centres are a core element of Nova Scotia’s mental health crisis response. We should know how well they are meeting the needs of people experiencing mental distress, their support network, and the broader community. But independent evaluations of the Nova Scotia mental health crisis line have not been produced or made available, writes Dr. Jamie Livingston.
Yesterday afternoon Dr. Jamie Livingston presented to the members of the Subcommittee to Define Defunding the Police. ” I believe that the majority of crisis calls in Halifax can and should be diverted to non-police-involved teams, ideally led by trained peer support workers since health professionals possess coercive powers that may replicate police-like approaches.”
Dr. Jamie Livingston: “As a criminologist, I’ve studied issues at the intersection of the mental health and policing systems for a decade and have been aware of the Nova Scotia approach for almost as long. It seems to me that the Nova Scotia mental health crisis response model has been frozen in time, refusing to evolve and innovate as new approaches, evidence, and demands emerge.”
As of March 2020, twenty people who have been deemed ready for discharge are detained at the East Coast Forensic Hospital. They are needlessly placed at an elevated risk for acquiring COVID-19 in addition to being exposed to numerous other ethical, legal, social, and health issues.