For those experiencing a mental health crisis, timely interventions and access to the right care and services are critical. That’s why North York General Hospital’s (NYGH) Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT), which launched in 2014, is a vital part of its holistic mental health program.
The crisis intervention program pairs NYGH nurses with specially trained Toronto Police Service officers who respond to emergency and dispatch calls related to people who are in crisis. This unique community partnership provides real-time support, de-escalation, and connections to the right community services for each patient.
"This isn’t a conventional nursing role, it’s very dynamic, ever-changing and allows me to offer care during an extremely vulnerable and challenging time for people,” says Roberto Iasci, MCIT Nurse at NYGH.
Roberto and his colleague Lisa Pritchard work together as MCIT nurses. The service operates 365 days a year and is designed to serve individuals in North York. It didn’t take long for Roberto and Lisa to realize the MCIT role was a perfect fit.
The first MCIT was piloted in Toronto about 23 years ago. There are now six established MCITs covering the City of Toronto, including the one led out of NYGH. The expertise and therapeutic approach of nurses are central to the success of this model.
“We are seeing people at the peak of their crisis in their most vulnerable state,” says Roberto. “Early on in my nursing career I realized that I was blessed with the ability to easily connect with those in crisis and that’s something I don’t take lightly.”
“Working within the community allows me the unique opportunity to meet an individual at their level, where they feel most comfortable. This helps to remove barriers to care and connect with and relate to the individual in need,” adds Lisa.