This is a joint news release between the Government of Yukon and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Government of Yukon and the Yukon Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have launched a new Mobile Crisis Response Team in Whitehorse. The new unit, named Car 867, will respond to calls for service related to mental health issues and suicide risks.
Car 867’s team will be staffed with a police officer and a mental health nurse from the Yukon government's Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services unit. They will provide a specialized joint response including on-site mental health assessments and referrals to community agencies.
The objective of this new partnership is to provide trauma-informed, client-centered responses to mental health emergencies. This joint initiative will help early intervention with underlying mental health issues and may also help divert people away from the criminal justice and hospital systems. This new unit is a key action to respond to the Substance Use Health Emergency.
While Yukon RCMP will continue to respond to calls of any nature 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Mobile Crisis Response Team will have specific hours of operation during the initial launch.
Requests for police assistance will continue to go through police dispatch (non-urgent line 667-5555 or 911 in the case of an emergency) and dispatch will determine if Car 867 is appropriate to respond. When dispatched, Car 867 will travel to the individual’s location to provide on-scene support, providing the unit is available and the call relates to a mental health issue or suicide risk.
People experiencing mental health or substance use challenges can receive support by calling Mental Health and Substance Use Services (MWSUS) at 867-456-3838. In case of an emergency, please call 911.
Car 867 is another tool that Yukon government and the RCMP will be able to use in responding to people experiencing emergency mental health challenges. We know that integrating police response and trained mental health nurses can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. Car 867 will reinforce the relationship between the RCMP and the health care system to better serve Yukoners.
Minister of Justice and Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee
In many regions, including Yukon, police have increasingly become the first point of contact for those experiencing a mental health event, and often become the conduit to accessing follow up specialized care. While the RCMP has made significant strides in better equipping our members to handle these interactions, there is no substitute for the skills a professional mental health worker brings. I am confident this new partnership will provide better care for those in need as well as enhance Yukon RCMP’s ability in responding to these calls for service.
Chief Superintendent Scott Sheppard, Commanding Officer, Yukon RCMP
Police regularly respond to people undergoing a mental health crisis.
In both 2021 and 2022 (until June 30), eight per cent of Whitehorse RCMP calls for service were related to mental health, including wellbeing checks and calls related to the Mental Health Act.
Mobile Crisis Response Teams in other Canadian jurisdictions have successfully reduced the number of people who end up in hospital for mental health assessments, freeing up hospital and policing resources.
For an example, the City of Hamilton’s mental health crisis team has reduced the number of apprehensions during mental health calls by up to 70 per cent and the City of Guelph has diverted 75 per cent of mental health calls from hospital.
Communications, Health and Social Services
Cst. Carlie McCann
Community policing, Whitehorse RMCP