CMHA Niagara hopes funding will expand mobile crisis unit beyond St. Catharines

Yesterday, the Ontario Government announced their plans to expand the use of mobile crisis teams, and pledged $174 million annually to mental health.

Tara McKendrick, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Niagara Branch, joined CKTB's Matt Holmes and said while they don't know exactly what the announcement means for Niagara, she's excited to see the government commit to mental health and addiction. 

CMHA Niagara already has a mobile crisis intervention team in partnership with Niagara Regional Police, but it is only available in St. Catharines. 

CKTB's Matt Holmes did a spotlight on Mobile Crisis workers, and Brandy Sand with CMHA joined him live in studio.

Listen to the interview by clicking here.

Since the beginning of that program, the team has seen 668 individuals, with 622 being diverted from unnecessary hospital admission.

McKendrick says that lends itself to ending hallway healthcare, and ensures people are getting timely support where it's needed. 

She hopes the funding will trickle down to Niagara and help expand the program outside of St. Catharines to other parts of Niagara, especially Niagara Falls where she says she sees a big push for it.

Of that $174 million, $27 million will go to fund mental health supports in Ontario's education system.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said mental health workers will be placed in secondary schools so youth can have access to early intervention.

McKendrick says the early intervention will prevent more complex or chronic conditions into adulthood.