ORILLIA, ON, May 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
announced today that it will soon begin using a science-based,
standardized mental health screening form across the province which
will help frontline officers articulate, in medical terms, why a person
is being brought to a hospital for psychiatric assessment.
"I am pleased to announce the OPP is launching this science-based tool
to improve our communication with health care professionals, which will
help people in crisis get the care they need, when they need it," said
OPP Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes.
The Brief Mental Health Screener (BMHS) is the result of a collaborative
partnership between the OPP, University of Waterloo and interRAI, a
network of researchers in over 30 countries committed to improving care
for vulnerable populations, including persons with mental illness.
InterRAI has developed assessment instruments for emergency care,
nursing homes, home care, mental health and intellectual disabilities,
The BMHS is based on the interRAI Mental Health assessment system, a
comprehensive standardized instrument mandated in 2005 by the Ontario
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for use with all patients
admitted to an Ontario hospital for inpatient psychiatric care. The
BMHS has been evaluated through an OPP pilot project and will improve
police response to people experiencing a mental health crisis. It will
also assist officers in dealing with these situations and serves as a
positive example of community mobilization in action.
OPP Detachment Commanders will soon be seeking partnerships with Ontario
hospitals to implement use of the BMHS. The development and planned
implementation of this new tool was announced today at a news
conference by OPP Commissioner Hawkes along with Dr. John Hirdes of the
University of Waterloo and interRAI Network of Excellence in Mental
Health and Ms. Camille Quenneville, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian
Mental Health Association, Ontario Division.
"The Brief Mental Health Screener is a scientifically-sound tool that
will help police officers identify mental health issues. It will
increase their ability to collaborate effectively with mental health
Dr. John Hirdes, Chair of the interRAI Network of Excellence in Mental
Health and Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems,
University of Waterloo..
"Tools such as the Brief Mental Health Screener enhance the transfer of
care of a person in a mental health crisis, leading to better outcomes
for individuals when they need it the most. We're pleased the OPP is
taking steps to help officers improve interaction with those living
with mental health issues and we look forward to further collaboration
on this issue."
Ms. Camille Quenneville, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association,
"A well designed tool for documentation is more than just a form; it
shapes how we think and thus how we act. The Brief Mental Health
Screener was rigorously designed and tested by experts in the field
with input from me and my colleagues (the 14 Ontario "LHIN Leads" for
Emergency Medicine) and others in emergency medicine. It will be an
important advance in improving care to vulnerable people in crisis and
will improve communications between police and emergency departments.
We are delighted the OPP will be among the first police services to
Dr. Howard Ovens, the Local Health Initiative Network (LHIN) and Ontario
Lead for Emergency Medicine and the Director of the Schwartz/Reisman
Emergency Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
"Ontario's hospitals rely heavily on strong partnerships with community
services, and so we welcome the adoption of the Brief Mental Health
Screener by the Ontario Provincial Police. It is a useful tool that can
enhance communications, support collaboration between police officers
and health care professionals and bring a more seamless system of care
to patients. We are encouraged by the work that's underway across
Ontario to adopt tools like the BMHS."
Anthony Dale, President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Contact: Sergeant Pierre Chamberland