“Since January 2012, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have participated in the Crisis Intervention and De-escalation course developed by the British Columbia Police Services Division.

This course provides all police officers in BC more education about mental health and police responsibilities. It also provides effective communication techniques & strategies for people in crisis, including those suffering from mental illnesses. Presently, the RCMP has over 50% of its members trained in the Crisis Intervention & De-escalation course (CID) in BC. Training in smaller communities can be difficult as they often lack mental health resources in comparison to places like the Lower Mainland.

In December 2013, the RCMP and BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) came together to make a resource video for RCMP members in smaller communities and to those attending the Pacific Region Training Centre in Chilliwack. The purpose of the video was to provide RCMP members with more insight into what it is like to live with severe and persistent mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. We also reviewed the positive and negative interactions these volunteers have had with the police in order to learn how to improve our own communication techniques.”

– Cst. Rodney Wagner

Currently, BC Schizophrenia Society works with local criminal justice training centres, like the Justice Institute of B.C., to offer presentations and information to first responders to help de-escalate crisis situations involving serious mental illness.

The following are videos from the 2013 training sessions, providing information and insight that is still relevant today:

*** Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2014. Minor changes in the text reflect the current situation as of 2020.