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Richmond RCMP takes the lead in mental health support with innovative policing

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:42 PDT, Mon May 6, 2024

As communities nationwide observe Mental Health Awareness Week from May 6 to 12, Richmond RCMP is proud to highlight its continued commitment to mental wellness through innovative and compassionate policing initiatives. 

The Vulnerable Persons Unit’s (VPU) Fox 80 program, a pioneering mental health criss response car, is one such initiative. The program pairs a Richmond RCMP constable with a psychiatric nurse from Vancouver Coastal Health providing on-site assessments and facilitating prompt and appropriate access to care. The Fox 80 team actively bridges the gap between first responders and mental health support, creating a seamless network for those in crisis. 

Sergeant Wanda Marion of the Vulnerable Persons Unit says, "The Fox 80 program epitomizes our approach to community policing, where sensitivity, rapid response, and collaboration are key. By uniting the skills of RCMP officers with trained health professionals, we are not just responding to crises- we are actively contributing to a safer and more supportive community environment.”

The VPU’s work extends beyond immediate crisis response. Through proactive strategies, mental health education, and partnership with community stakeholders, the unit aims to foster long-term stability for individuals within the complex landscape of mental health, substance use, and related vulnerabilities by providing clients with follow-up referrals to appropriate Mental Health teams or other agencies most appropriate to their needs.

Also, during Mental Health Awareness Week, Richmond RCMP reaffirms its dedication to the RCMP’s Road to Mental Readiness program, designed to support the mental resilience of police officers and the community alike. This initiative acknowledges the unique challenges of law enforcement and ensures officers have access to the necessary resources and education to thrive amidst these challenges.

Richmond RCMP’s strategic commitment to mental health support reflects a broader ethos of preventative and supportive policing and community empowerment. As we mark this week, Richmond RCMP invites the community to engage in open dialogue, support one another, and break down barriers to mental health care.

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