Thunder Bay Situation Table officially launched
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – A new initiative involving dozens of partners from various fields will focus on ensuring some of the city’s most vulnerable get the right help they need when they need it.
The Thunder Bay Situation Table officially launched Tuesday morning and includes representatives from more than 30 organizations across sectors – including mental health and addictions, justice, social services, employment and education – to help those at acutely-elevated risk of imminent harm, victimization or criminalization.
In a more simplistic sense, the Situation Table is about providing “the right services at the right time,” said Thunder Bay Police Service S/Sgt. Derek West.
Community partners, including the Thunder Bay Police Service, can refer individuals who face complex situations and multiple risk factors to the Situation Table. The individuals referred may be experiencing issues related to mental and physical health, addictions, poverty, negative relationships, housing, educating, employment, domestic and physical violence and more.
Once referred, the Situation Table can put together an action plan to support those specific and complex needs.
The result is a rapid, short-term and time-limited intervention so that individuals receive access to appropriate services. The response is typically within 48 hours.
For police, who regularly become the first point of contact with at-risk individuals, the initiative represents a better chance of providing people with a more appropriate or ideal response.
“Too often police are the first point of contact for individuals experiencing a crisis,” said Thunder Bay Police Service A/Deputy Chief Don Lewis. “However, we realize that we’re not the most appropriate resource and rely on community partners for help.
“This collaboration across sectors helps a person in need of support, creates efficiencies among partner organizations and allows officers to focus on community safety and public service.”
When a matter is brought before the Situation table, information is presented in a way that protects individual’s identity. This allows the Situation table participants to focus on addressing the challenges as presented.
“What the Situation Table provides is an opportunity for service providers to collaborate, so we can really have that seamless delivery of services,” said Mariah Maddock, Thunder Bay Situation Table Chair.
“It’s great to see this community response. It has been great to see all the partnerships coming from diverse sectors for this.”
The 30 organizations that make up the Situation Table does not represent a final number. Maddock said the Thunder Bay Situation Table remains in conversations with potential future member organizations.