• Councillor Mark Grimes

City of Toronto launches new Toronto Community Crisis Service in two pilot areas

Mayor has John Tory announced the launch of a new alternative model of crisis response for residents of Toronto. The Toronto Community Crisis Service, aimed at better supporting community health, wellness and safety, will provide a community-led solution to respond to mental health crisis calls and wellness checks.

The new service, which is person-centred and trauma-informed, focuses on harm reduction. It will be geographically-based and operate in areas of Toronto where there is a demonstrated need and calls for people in crisis are the highest.

The Toronto Community Crisis Service, led in partnership with community partners, will be launched in the northeast and downtown east areas of the city. The service will:

  • Feature mobile multidisciplinary teams of trained crisis support specialists (e.g. community health nurses, crisis counsellors, harm reduction workers, peer workers).

  • Initially operate 24 hours a day, six days a week, Sunday to Friday and move to a 24 hours a day, seven days a week operation.

  • Provide case management support including follow-up support, primary health care, referrals, holistic support, trauma counselling, housing and other individualized supports.

The downtown east pilot led by Gerstein Crisis Centre, will launch on March 31 and the northeast pilot, led by TAIBU Community Health Centre on April 4. In addition, the northwest and downtown west pilots, to be led by the Canadian Mental Health Association and 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations will kick-off in July.

Once launched, the new service can be reached by calling 911. A call triaging process is in place with Toronto Police Service and Findhelp|211 Central to triage and dispatch calls as appropriate to the mobile teams and connect callers to follow-up supports. Appropriate calls will be dispatched based on the call location, dispatch criteria and availability of teams. Torontonians experiencing or witnessing an emergency should continue to call 911 for themselves, a loved one, a neighbor, or others.

The Toronto Community Crisis Service is one of SafeTO’s key priority actions to reduce vulnerability through proactive mental health support strategies and community-led crisis support models. The pilots will allow the City of Toronto to test, evaluate, and revise a non-police led crisis response before implementing it at a larger scale.

Beyond the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots, there are other supports available for people experiencing a mental health crisis and looking to connect with someone, including:

  • Gerstein Crisis Centre services include 24/7 telephone support, in-person mobile crisis team, community support referrals, substance use crisis management, follow-up and access to short-term crisis beds. Call 416-929-5200.

  • Distress Centre of Greater Toronto available 24/7 to provide emotional support by phone and text. Call 416-408-4357 or text 45645.

  • Here2Help operating in the downtown east. Teams are available Tuesdays to Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Church/Wellesley corridor and Moss Park. Call 416-9154200.

To learn more about the service, visit www.Toronto.ca/CrisisService.

The City is committed to supporting the mental health needs of communities. For additional mental health resources, please visit the City’s Mental Health Resource webpage.