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Thursday May 23rd, 2013

Posted at 8:32pm

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Windsor Police and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital have formed a partnership to address gaps in existing crisis services.

The program is called C.O.A.S.T, which stands for Community Outreach and Support Team, and it combines resources of both organizations to better serve residents of Windsor with mental health concerns.

C.O.A.S.T. provides an integrated approach to responding to individuals who may be suffering from a mental illness or find themselves in a severe distress situation and whose needs are not being effectively met within the current system.

Hospital officials say that too often, there are individuals who come to the attention of police and emergency room personnel at a point where hospitalization or incarceration are seen to be the only options to intervene. They say that these options which rarely offer a solution that would allow the individual an opportunity for longer term change.

C.O.A.S.T. pairs a specially trained, plain clothed, police officer with a hospital mental health crisis worker who work together to meet with a vulnerable individual. It’s a pre-emptive approach in attempting to engage with an individual to assess their needs before their concerns or issues escalate.

Two teams have been assigned to this program and will operate from Monday to Friday from 8am to 11pm.

If you know of anyone who could benefit from C.O.A.S.T. contact [email protected] or call 519-973-4409.

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