SCO launches mobile crisis team 

By Dave Baxter

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

An organization that represents more than 30 First Nations communities is introducing a new service to lend assistance to those who may be dealing with a crisis and feel they need to reach out for help.

The Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) announced in a recent media release they have now launched their new Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) program.

The MCRT will now be available to all members of SCO, an organization that represents 34 Anishnaabe and Dakota communities across southern Manitoba.

“This is a proud moment for the leadership at SCO, as the MCRT will be performing critical services for our relatives who are in crisis,” SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said.

“At the request of the Chiefs we have been working to create this vital service for several years now and I am delighted to see it become a reality.”

According to SCO, the MCRT is comprised of “qualified professionals who are trained in trauma-informed practice and can offer crisis response, intervention and case coordination services to ensure a care plan is in place.”

As well, the MCRT will work within the model of the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum (FNMWC), a national First Nation developed framework that supports mental wellness, while also ensuring “culturally safe delivery of services.”

The MCRT now consists of a psychiatric nurse, therapists, trauma-informed counsellors, mental health and wellness specialists, and cultural supports, and will includes Anishinaabemowin language speakers.

“It cannot be overstated just how important a step this is when it comes to supporting our people in their healing,” Daniels said.

“This will go a long way in filling a systemic gap we have had to endure for far too long, when it comes to accessing appropriate mental health and wellness services.”

According to SCO, the MCRT will provide services including crisis intervention, mental health assessment and psychosocial assessment and addictions support, assessment and triage.

The MCRT will also offer education on mental health and coping strategies, and offer support to family members and other concerned individuals.

The introduction of the new service is welcome news for Dakota Tipi First Nation Chief Eric Pashe, who said several events in recent months and years have been leading to increasing incidents of trauma among First Nations people and communities here in Manitoba.

“The discovery of the unmarked graves last summer combined with the isolation of the pandemic have triggered deep trauma in our communities and this support cannot come soon enough,” Pashe said.

“Being able to offer trauma support in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner is key when it comes to this kind of service.”

The MCRT team is now available seven days a week and is on call 24 hours a day to all SCO’s member Nations, and can be reached by phone at 1-877-726-2880, or by email at CrisisResponse?

-Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.





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