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The Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) is a partnership between St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s), Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services, Middlesex-London Paramedic Service (MLPS), and London Police Service (LPS).
The COAST team connects with individuals in London who are at risk of crisis or frequently experience crisis, due to a struggle with mental health, mental illness and/or addiction. For these individuals, the program provides proactive intervention, de-escalation and safe transition to the appropriate health care setting. The program is led by community health care providers and supported by police services.
The main goals of the COAST program are to reduce police-led responses to situations in which an individual is experiencing a mental health/addiction crisis, reducing interactions with police officers in these scenarios and most importantly, improving outcomes for these individuals by ensuring they receive the appropriate care in the appropriate setting.
The COAST team will regularly engage and interact with individuals living in the London community (16 years of age or older) with serious mental health issues; individuals who are in frequent crisis; and individuals who are at risk of crisis (individuals living with addiction, poverty and/or homelessness) and aims to:
The majority of individuals who may benefit from proactive COAST involvement are currently identified and referred by LPS or CMHA’s Crisis Services and intake team. At times, individuals may also be connected with COAST through calls for services received by LPS. This would be dependent on the nature of the call, as well as COAST availability. Referrals are reviewed for an urgent response within 24-72 hours.
While the COAST program model is primarily a proactive outreach, rather than a reactive response, should a situation be encountered where there is a person in acute crisis and the COAST team is available, they will be engaged for support.
September 29, 2022: An Evaluation of the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) in London, Ontario
August 26, 2021: Announcing London’s New Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST)