One of the biggest issues with Canada’s mental health system is wait times. It’s great that the help is out there, but most mental health issues require fairly fast access to treatment in order to, not only, help the person, but prevent possible tragedy.
This is especially true when such issues require police intervention. So Toronto police are now using an app that is proactive in intent. The idea is that, if someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, they can use it to quickly and easily know what services are available to them. This will hopefully prevent occurrences such as the Sammy Yatim shooting from a few years back.
Developed with the assistance of students from Ryerson University, the app (called Community Asset Portal) is currently getting about 50 uses per day. This is below the average of 70 mental health calls Toronto police typically get daily, but still a significant number, particularly as CAP has not been around for too long.
Ways to de-escalate crisis situations are commonly practiced by police officers and CAP is a way to hopefully prevent many from occurring in the first place. Ideally, developers would also like the general public to use the app for the same purpose.
Are you feeling deeply depressed, stressed, or otherwise down in the dumps? Are you just not yourself and have felt off for some time? You could be in the early stages of a mental health crisis, so it is important to take the necessary steps and have yourself evaluated by a professional therapist.
If you feel like you are in crisis and might harm yourself, either call 9-11 or the crisis line at your local mental health association. Someone will speak with you, evaluate your situation, and advise you on what steps to take next. Many of us are proactive about our physical health; we need to be just as diligent with our mental health.