Équipe de soutien aux urgences psychosociales (ESUP)

In 2012, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal created ESUP, in partnership with the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.

This team works to promote multidisciplinary collaboration and support police work during interventions involving persons in crisis or who are mentally disturbed, and refer them to the appropriate services whether in terms of law, health or community support.

ESUP has six police officers along with one supervisor and four social workers from the CIUSSS. They are grouped into mixed duos (one police officer and one social worker) who patrol the entire territory served by the SPVM together. They intervene directly as front-line responders for calls that were initially secured by patrol officers, involving people who are mentally disturbed or in crisis.

Calls are rather evenly distributed across the territory for a variety of situations, criminal or otherwise and urgent or otherwise. ESUP members evolve in various places of intervention: private residences, public spaces, hospitals and health services. They intervene with various populations: youth, seniors or immigrants presenting factors of vulnerability.

Example of a case handled by ESUP

Police officers are not health care professionals. They sometimes need the advice of a crisis worker to determine how much danger the person who is mentally disturbed represents.

In cases where an individual makes suicidal statements on social media without sharing specific plans, the police will call on ESUP or Urgences psychosociales - Justice to evaluate the individual’s condition, guide them to assistance resources and ensure liaison with the health network if necessary.

Police interventions better adapted to people’s needs

The ESUP intervention model helps reach individuals who are mentally disturbed or in crisis directly at the place of the incident when they need help. This model facilitates their access to adapted services, whether in terms of law, health, social services or community support.

There are also means in place to enable concerted action within the expertise, mandates and limits of each player. The ESUP intervention model fosters the complementarity of interventions by the SPVM with those of the partners in the health and social services, justice and community network.

These efforts to bring the different players concerned to work together prevents police officers from having repeat interventions with the same individuals. This also reduces the time front-line patrol officers spend on these interventions, allowing them to resume their work with the population more quickly.

Schedule

The ESUP mixed duos work from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week.

At night, police officers can contact Urgences psychosociales - Justice and RIC patrol officers if they are called on to intervene with a person who is mentally disturbed or in crisis.

Service offering

The members of ESUP support the work of front-line patrol officers, acting in an advisory capacity during interventions with people who are mentally disturbed or in crisis. They take the person to the necessary resource if necessary.

If the individual does not need to be hospitalized, they will provide them with recommendations and references.

ESUP may be called by the SPVM emergency dispatch or simply by police officers who need to intervene with individuals who are mentally disturbed or in crisis.

Number of ESUP interventions

Close to 1,900 interventions per year.

Find out more

Publications
People who are mentally disturbed or in crisis situations
Plan d’action en santé mentale 2015-2020 – Faire ensemble et autrement (in French)

Other innovative police practices at the SPVM
Équipe mobile de référence et d’intervention en itinérance (ÉMRII)
Containment and de-escalation training
RIC (Réponse en intervention de crise) patrol officers

Recognition
In 2016, ESUP members were invited by the Service de police de la Ville de Sherbrooke to provide knowledge transfer. Since then, officers from the municipality have been working with the CIUSSS of Estrie as part of the Équipe mobile d’interventions psychosociales (EMIP - psychosocial intervention mobile team).

In the media
Des intervenants de première ligne en santé mentale - Folie Douce
L’Équipe de soutien en urgence psychosociale est de plus en plus demandée - Le Devoir, 21 mars, 2014
Santé mentale: un rôle accru pour l'équipe psychosociale du SPVM - La Presse, 15 juin, 2015
Un programme du SPVM inspire d’autres services de police - Journal Métro, 6 juillet, 2016