By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
M-HEART – a successful partnership between local police services and community mental-health service providers – will now be offering additional focused support for the Municipality of Brighton.
The acronym stands for Mental Health Engagement And Response Team, and it combines supports within the justice and health-care systems in a collaborative approach to assist individuals with mental illness and addiction issues.
Thanks to a Community Safety and Policing Grant Application, an additional 20 hours a week of service by an M-HEART Registered Nurse has been secured for the Municipality of Brighton. The application (made available through the Ministry of the Solicitor General) was made by the Brighton Police Service Board in partnership with the Northumberland OPP and Northumberland Hills Hospital.
M-HEART was introduced to the region in the spring of 2018. operating five days a week in partnership with the Northumberland OPP, Port Hope Police Service and Cobourg Police Service to improve mental-health supports across the county. OPP Mental Health Liaison Officers are accompanied by a full-time mental-health Registered Nurse to provide services to address mental health and addiction issues jointly and retroactively.
The M-HEART Registered Nurses work in tandem with their policing partners to provide client-centred and trauma-informed mental-health nursing care to individuals experiencing a mental-health crisis through such avenues as consultation in crisis intervention and helping determine a therapeutic course of action.
The M-HEART Registered Nurse is able to perform mental-health assessments and facilitate a seamless transition to medical facilities, as well as to participate in the ongoing assessments of the client – providing follow-up consultations and assistance in connecting the client (and family members) to available community resources for basic needs, emergency services, crisis services and other service deemed appropriate for that individual’s needs.
“The aim is to support the longer-term stabilization of a vulnerable population within our communities, and collaboratively develop treatment that includes client-directed goals,” the announcement said.
“Since its launch, M-HEART has become an integral service for the residents of Northumberland County, NHH Vice-President of Integrated Care Jennifer Cox said.
“It has provided valuable opportunities to bring supports directly to individuals in need, while mitigating potential barriers caused by system navigation, transportation or other existing factors that prevent delivery of care.
“We are elated to expand M-HEART into Brighton and continue this beneficial collaboration with Northumberland OPP.”
“With a concentrated focus in Brighton, our goal is to continue offering mental-health services that residents feel comfortable accessing,” NHH Mental Health Community Programs and Services Integrated Director Emma Taylor added.
“The success of M-HEART’s expansion will be strengthened by promoting awareness and accessibility of these services among our targeted demographics.”
Inspector Jeff Martin, Detachment Commander, said the OPP is excited to have increased M-HEART services in the Brighton area.
“The additional hours will complement the tremendous service that M-HEART brings to our communities,” Martin said.