Police look to bring mental health to the forefront with a new crisis team in North Battleford. PACT pairs mental health professionals with police creating a mobile unit to decrease extreme mental health situations.

At a launch event Friday, Battlefords MLA Herb Cox says the initiative looks to reflect the government commitment to wellness and safety.

“By dealing with these situations more effectively, we can avoid emergency department visits and free up officers to focus on other priority areas.”

In a press release, SHA says the collaborative effort is aiming to provide care to people in the community in order to avoid emergency visits and entries into the criminal justice system. Saskatchewan Health Authority Executive Director Primary Health Care Northwest Vikki Smart says similar programs have reduced pressure on hospitals.

“Having front-line staff available to provide support in the moment will most importantly benefit the individuals in need.”

The federal government has provided Saskatchewan near $350 million for 10 years to focus on home and community care and mental health and addiction services. Saskatchewan has put close to $1 million in 2018-19 for the PACT programs.