More than 3,000 mental health calls in Surrey first half of 2021, RCMP say

A sign for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in English and French along with the crest of the RCMP. (Shutterstock)

Warning: This story contains details of a suicide attempt.

Mounties in Surrey responded to more than 3,000 mental health-related calls in the first half of 2021, according to RCMP in the city.

From January to June 2021, officers attended a total of 3,064 calls, 862 of which were to assist 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,” says Surrey RCMP Const. Sarbjit Sangha in a news release. “Specialized training for police includes crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques.”

Sangha says a recent example of a police response to a distraught person occurred on May 5, when officers responded to a man threatening to kill himself.

RCMP located the man just before 11 p.m., sitting outside a business in Whalley holding a knife to his throat.

“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,” Sangha says.

The Car 67 program pairs police officers with psychiatric nurses in response to calls relating to mental health concerns.

Sangha adds that the goal is always to intervene in the safest way possible, in order to get the person the medical assistance they require.

Surrey RCMP is asking the public to reach out to a health-care provider as soon as possible if they or a family member is experiencing mental health concerns.