REACH Edmonton

Since October 2015, the 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team has had vans on the streets in Edmonton, helping people in non-emergency crises get the help they need without unnecessarily involving police or emergency services.

Recently, the Hope Mission team helped a vulnerable man get home safely, while avoiding emergency services and connecting him to the supports that he needed.

“We came upon one of our longtime community members in an inner city location,” said a member of the Hope Mission 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team. “He was standing outside of a business and was aggressively shouting at patrons entering and leaving the building. We were recently informed that he has the early symptoms of dementia.”

As soon as the man engaged with the crisis team, the situation de-escalated. They reminded him that he had an apartment at a permanent supportive housing residence nearby, which he had forgotten.

After reminding him of his home, he agreed to let the team provide transportation and they informed the staff and nurses at the residence about the incident. When the man arrived home, he began to weep and thanked the team for “having his back.”

“We were glad that we had stumbled upon this situation before it escalated into a crisis,” said the 24/7 Crisis Diversion team member. This incident is an example of the team’s aim for a “warm hand-off,” which helps clients connect to the supports they need.

“While not every call is like this, I think this is representative of the scope of the work that the 24/7 Crisis Diversion Teams are doing,” said Lindsay Daniller, director of community initiatives and strategic development at REACH Edmonton. “This is a shining example of how this program can work to prevent a crisis from becoming an emergency, while connecting people to the help that they need.”