Shifting from Crisis to Care
Peer Assisted Care Teams (PACT) are here to help community members find the support they need during a crisis.
The aim of a Peer Assisted Care Team is to provide an alternative to police and shift BC’s crisis care to a community-based, client-centered, trauma-informed response centered on the mental health and well-being of the affected individual, their family, and their community.
CMHA BC is leading and advocating for the initiative “Peer Assisted Care Teams” or PACT in British Columbia, with CMHA North/West Vancouver as the first pilot team operating since November 2021. This year (2022), with generous funding from the Province we added two more pilot teams, and now PACT is operating in 3 communities: North Shore, Victoria, and New Westminster. These teams respond to distress related to mental health and/or substance use.
Teams include 2 trained individuals: (1) trained peers (civilian/community member) with lived and living experience of mental health and/or substance use challenges and (1) mental health professionals; both offering culturally safe and trauma-informed responses to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Getting Connected: Any member of the community can contact their local Peer Assisted Care Team when they have identified a crisis. These teams are operated by a community-based organization in an identified local community area. The organizations also offer a range of other health and social supports. We are excited to continue to co-develop and offer PACT in BC alongside service operators CMHA North/West Vancouver, AVI, and Purpose Society.
- Community-driven. PACT is a community-based mental health care program proven to free up first-responder resources (police, hospital). PACT response has proven to help navigate individuals to mental and social support and reduce engagement with the justice system and emergency services (ER).
- Person-centered. This response meets individuals at their level in their mental health crisis. Teams offer support, listen without judgment, create a safe space, and provide de-escalation and navigation. PACT aims to reduce stigma and increase support.
- Responsive. PACT is designed to respond to a range of non-violent crisis situations, including calls where another party is concerned about a person’s welfare. In responding, PACT will advocate for individuals, connect them to appropriate resources and services, and follow up with them after.
We are building on best practices around the world from Oregon, Toronto, New Zealand, and Sweden where there are highly successful civilian-led models that include front-line workers trained in trauma-informed support, risk management, and de-escalation. The model is not a one-size-fits-all. Each community currently piloting the initiative will base its framework on the evidence-based model and training requirements, but the response methods may differ based on community input and needs. CMHA BC will convene, collaborate, and establish best practices for the community network of the 3 teams operating in BC.
PACT Response Model:
- Community member calls or texts the local number for PACT.
- A member of the Team (PACT) assesses the situation and responds.
- Support is provided directly to the individual.
- A member of the Team follows up and connects the individual to community support.
As community members, we can connect people in distress with support by calling PACT. This is a compassionate, community-based response.
Find a Team in your Community:
Call 1-888-261-7228 or text 778-839-1831
CMHA North and West Vancouver Branch
Operating since November 2021
Support the growth of PACT in BC
CMHA BC is committed to help bring PACT to more communities. A successful PACT requires collaboration and support from the entire community. Advocate for the initiative in your community or donate! We can strengthen and improve crisis care and help people access the services they need.