I have worked in the field of mental health and addictions for the past 34 years. Most of my career has been in downtown Toronto where I initially worked in the shelter system with abused women, refugees and the homeless population. I also worked on the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Victim Services with Toronto Police, in case management for at risk street youth and drop ins for homeless and marginalized people. I spent 20 years working at the Gerstein Crisis Centre which was the first 24 hour mental health crisis centre in Canada. The centre provided short stay beds, a 24 hour crisis line and a mobile outreach team to downtown Toronto.
I came to Halton to work for COAST 14 years ago. COAST stands for Crisis Outreach and Support Team. It is a partnership between CMHA Halton Region Branch and Halton Regional Police. The service provides a 24 hour crisis line as well as a mobile outreach team which consists of a crisis worker accompanied by a non-uniformed police officer who is specially trained in mental health. In addition, I currently am a facilitator for the Crisis Intervention and Training program with Halton Regional Police. The service has committed to training 100% of it’s officers and front line civilian staff in mental health and crisis training.