Responding to people in crisis

Police officers are often first on scene when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. First responders need empathy, patience and awareness when responding to these situations. Crisis intervention and de-escalation skills can help reduce risk to the individual, public and first responders.

Police officers are not doctors and do not diagnose people in crisis. But, police officers need to understand the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses to determine risk and de-escalate a situation whenever possible.

RCMP officers use the Incident Management Intervention Model (IMIM) when interacting with the public. IMIM emphasizes communication which includes de-escalation. Situations involving people in mental health crisis are complex and dynamic. Police officers may have to use force along with communication and de-escalation.

The RCMP has strengthened crisis intervention and de-escalation training for all its officers. Mandatory training helps them determine when and how to use crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques. This training complements what cadets learn at the RCMP Training Academy, as well as other training offered in RCMP divisions and detachments.

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