Toronto Overdue for a Culturally Responsive Mobile Crisis Team that Responds in Real Time

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Toronto  is long overdue for a 24/7 mobile crisis response team that is publicly funded and co-led with communities that have been historically marginalized. For those of us that are Black our lives depend on an informed response, that acknowledges anti-Black racism and that anti-oppressive responses for us do not include calling 911 when someone is experiencing a crisis, where police are responsible to lead and manage the situation.  We have had numerous reports spanning decades, like; OHRC's A Collective Impact: Interim report on the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service [TPS], that echoes what communities at the heart of these experiences have been telling us.

Black folx are more likely to die during interactions with TPS. Fatal encounters with TPS are even more likely to happen for Black folx experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis. Police are ill-equipped to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. Loved ones and those in crisis deserve a dignified and compassionate 24/7 specialized mobile crisis response unit that can be called and trusted to respond in real-time, not led or managed by the police.  There have been a number of research studies that support the call for a 24/7 mobile crisis response unit, people can call when they or their loved ones are experiencing a crisis, in real time, not after a crisis has occurred. 

We call on our elected officials to work collaboratively with our Black community centred organizations and researchers to create a detailed action plan and timeline of when anyone in crisis can look forward to a culturally responsive 24/7 mobile crisis  team that can take emergency calls and respond in real time to those experiencing a mental health crisis.   

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