Leamington District Memorial Hospital and Essex County OPP are partnering to expand their mental health strategy.

On Wednesday morning, they launched a Transfer of Care Memorandum of Agreement.

Officials say it is a more formal approach to assisting people presenting to the Emergency Department who may be having mental health crisis.

 “Our uniformed men in Essex County frequently respond to calls for mental health,” says OPP Insp. Glenn Miller.

He says in 2011, Essex County officers were dispatched to 45 mental calls. That increased to 242 in 2015 and 214 in 2016.

Miller says the mental health strategy is proactive in approach.

Essex County police have made a commitment to expanding partnerships with LDMH in the interest of safe, effective accessible care to standardize communication procedures in the transfer of care from OPP to Leamington's emergency department.

“It is an acknowledgement that no single organization can solve  a problem on its own,” says Miller.

OPP recognize that a variety of those with mental health, addiction or homeless issues have frequent contact with police and local hospital staff without having an effective support solution in place.

With the commitment of this protocol, it is expected that a person who has been brought to LDMH by police under the Mental Health Act, will receive timely, appropriate and safe care.