B.C.: Vancouver proposes $2.8 million grant to hire mental health nurses to police force
by The Canadian Parvasi
Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, in a press conference on Sunday, announced a proposed $2.8 million grant to pair mental health nurses with the police force of the city to enhance the city’s Car 87/88 program, that enlists registered nurses or psychiatric nurses to do on-site assessments during mental health crises.
The Car 87/88 program entails a police/nurse team travelling to non-emergency calls pertaining to individuals with deteriorating mental health.
The proposed grant will enable Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to hire 58 mental health nurses this year and will be presented to the council on February 14.
Speaking of the grant, Mayor Sim stated at the news conference, “We have an opportunity to set a new standard in North America for a modern and compassionate approach toward addressing the conflict and often interlinked challenges regarding public safety and mental health”, adding that the grant will eventually grow to $8 million.
ABC Vancouver, Mayor Sim’s party, had previously advocated for hiring 100 more police officers and 100 more mental health nurses to address concerns with Vancouver’s frontline mental health and public safety response.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jennifer Whiteside, who was also in attendance at the conference, stated that the province hopes to bring the Car 87/88 model in Vancouver to other parts of British Columbia as well.