• Councillor Mark Grimes

City of Toronto launches two more Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots

Today, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of two new Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots in the downtown west and northwest areas of the city. The new alternative model of crisis response for residents of Toronto aims to better support community health, wellness and safety by providing a community-led solution to respond to mental health crisis calls and wellness checks.

The downtown west pilot, led by 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations , will launch on July 11 and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The northwest pilot, led by the Canadian Mental Health Association , will launch on July 18 and operate 24 hours a day, Sunday to Friday.

Two initial Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots have already responded to close to 400 calls for service since launching earlier this year. The downtown east pilot, led by Gerstein Crisis Centre , and the northeast pilot, led by TAIBU Community Health Centre , launched on March 31 and April 4 respectively. Like the northwest pilot, the downtown east and northeast teams operate 24 hours a day, Sunday to Friday.

The Toronto Community Crisis Service is person-centred and trauma-informed and focuses on harm reduction. The pilots are geographically-based and operate in areas of Toronto where there is a demonstrated need and calls for people in crisis are the highest.

The newly-expanded service, led together with community partners, features mobile multidisciplinary teams of trained crisis support specialists (e.g. community health nurses, crisis counsellors, harm reduction workers, peer workers). The teams provide case management support including follow-up support, primary health care, referrals, holistic support, trauma counselling, housing and other individualized supports.

The new service can be reached by calling 211. A call triaging process is in place with Findhelp | 211 Central to triage and dispatch calls as appropriate to the mobile teams and connect callers to follow-up supports. Torontonians experiencing or witnessing an emergency should continue to call 911 for themselves, a loved one, a neighbour or others.

With four pilots now in operation, the City of Toronto can test, evaluate and revise a non-police led crisis response before implementing it city-wide.

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. More information is available on the City’s SafeTO webpage.

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 416-915-4200.

More information about the service is available here. 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.