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Mental health calls to P.E.I. RCMP up for 2nd year in a row

Calls are up almost 30% in two years, says RCMP Const. Gavin Moore. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)
Calls are up almost 30% in two years, says RCMP Const. Gavin Moore. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)

RCMP on P.E.I. are getting more and more calls for assistance in mental health situations.

Those calls range from wellness checks, where police are asked by a family member, friend or neighbour to look in on someone, to dealing with people in crisis who may be a risk to themselves or others.

"In some of these situations we're the first point of contact. So, we approach things from a safety perspective. This isn't a criminal matter," RCMP said Const.Gavin Moore.

RCMP fielded 634 calls in 2020. That rose to 720 last year, and to 812 in the last 12 months. That's an increase of almost 30 per cent over two years ago.

Moore did not want to speculate on the cause of the increase, but in an emailed statement Health P.E.I. noted Islanders have had to deal with unusual pressures in the last couple of years.

"Including economic pressures due to inflation and pandemic pressures that are broad and impacted people in many ways — including changes to health, social contact, and financial wellbeing," the statement said.

"These factors may play a role in increasing crises situations."

Moore noted RCMP are assisted on many mental health calls by the province's mobile mental health units.