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The real reason police arrive at mental health calls: 911 dispatchers are trained to send them – CTV News

June 29, 2020

MONTREAL — On May 3, weeks before anti-police riots erupted, a social worker was sitting in a park in downtown Montreal with a woman he knew well.

He wanted to call an ambulance for her. The hard part, he thought, was getting her to agree to that plan. But it turned out the real hurdle was getting the 911 dispatchers to agree.

“The woman was feeling very overwhelmed and really low, so she was thinking about suicide,” said Nakuset, the director of Montreal’s Native Women’s Shelter, who knows both people involved.

“The intervention worker from Resilience Montreal sat with her for four hours, and after the fourth hour, she turned to him an said ‘OK, call an ambulance.’”

The two waited but they got a surprise, Nakuset said. “Instead of an ambulance she got 17 police officers and a canine unit.”

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