HealthIM: Belleville Police Service Assisting Mental Patients

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Belleville Police Service is using a mobile app called HealthIM. It assists in mental health calls.


Health IM is a software that aims at supporting responders during a mental health crisis. Basically, the software has four symptoms; pre-response safety briefing, mental health risk screener, inter-agency communication, and reporting and analysis.

Like other application software which includes e-health apps, healthIM is gaining attention. The governments of various states are considering utilizing these apps.

Belleville Police Service Using HealthIM

A police officer, Inspector Sheri Meeks, told Police Services Board on Thursday that they have been using the app to deal with people experiencing mental issues.

She said that the number of patients brought to Belleville General Hospital by officers has fallen. It also helped the officers waiting in the hospital on mental health calls. It took more than an hour on average for the officers to stay in the hospital.

She added that policemen often decided that the person needs counseling; they don’t make arrest reports on the basis of the app. It also allowed referring to the agencies instantly.

The app has 25 points in the checklists. Therefore, the officer can respond accordingly to assess crisis situations. The app also stores previous information of people which helps officers understand the problem properly.

It also sends the information to the health center where the app or police refer. Furthermore, it helps the nurses there to prepare themselves to handle the case.

About 42% of calls to Belleville Police Service are about mental health problems in some way.

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Sandie Sidsworth, Executive Director for the Enrichment Centre for Mental Health, also praised the Belleville’s police officers. She said that people are appreciating the police officers’ response.

Sigworth has received more than 100 emails from the public appreciating the expert response by policemen.

Mike Callaghan, the Deputy Police Chief, Board Chair Jack Miller, Mitch Panciuk, mayor, all praised the dealings of the police officers with the people in mental crisis.

“In these times especially, I wish there was less loud opinion without facts being given on policing and mental health and more discussion about the facts, about what’s actually going on,” said the Mayor.

The app helps officers by presenting a ‘Pre-Response Safety Briefing’ which contains care measures, de-escalation tactics (if know), and safety measures. It also provides hospital facilities if the patient needs transportation.

A patrol officer, Cst. Ryan Laycoe says “If I haven’t dealt with an individual but another officer has, as soon as I pull it up, I can see their triggers and ways on how to de-escalate things.” Moreover, the police officials believe the results are promising.

The app is in use in Manitoba since July 2019. It has been very useful and beneficial for both; the police and the public.

Policemen can handle the case themselves and don’t have to stay in hospitals; for the victim for hours, with limited police resources, as well as, hospital resources.

The people are helped instead of being arrested and get police help when they are in a mental crisis.