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HSJCC webinar: Innovations in Alternative Crisis Response Models

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This webinar will explore the current landscape of community-based, non-police crisis response models in Ontario. In conversation with advocates from the Reach Out Response Network and Gerstein Crisis Centre, this presentation will provide an overview of the research around alternative crisis response models and speak to the experiences and best practices of these teams in operation.

The Reach Out Response Network is a coalition of community stakeholders advocating for an anti-oppressive, trauma-informed model of crisis response in Toronto. In 2020, they submitted a report to the City of Toronto outlining their recommendations for Alternative Crisis Response Models for Toronto, based on two years or academic research and consultations with the community.

Gerstein Crisis Centre provides 24-hour community-based crisis services for adults 16+ in the City of Toronto who are dealing with mental health, concurrent, or substance use issues and are currently in crisis. They operate a telephone crisis line, mobile crisis team, community-based crisis beds, short term follow-up support, and referrals to other beneficial health and social services.

Webinar Presenters:

Rachel Bromberg
Reach Out Response Network

Susan Davis
Executive Director, Gerstein Crisis Centre

Rachel Bromberg is the Canadian National Coordinator of the International Mobile Services Association, which is a service providers' network connecting individuals across Canada and the United States who are building civilian-led mobile crisis services in their communities. Rachel is a member of the Toronto Regional Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Constituency Council. She is currently completing a dual degree in law and social work (JD/MSW), and she has been working as a peer supporter and peer educator for the past seven years at organizations such as Stella's Place, CAMH, Planned Parenthood, the LGBT Youth Line, and the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service. Rachel recently completed an internship with the CAMH Legal Department.

Susan Davis is the Executive Director at Gerstein Crisis Centre, a 24-hour Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis Centre in Toronto. She has over 30 years of experience in the community mental health field with many years in direct service as well as leadership. Susan actively engages in the development of innovative services, partnerships and systems that improve access to the supports people need and that recognize the impact of the social determinants of health on people’s overall well-being. She currently chairs the Downtown and Toronto Region Human Service and Justice Coordinating Committees and is a member of the Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Panel to the TPS Board. Susan is also co-chair of the Police Reform: Alternative Community Safety Response Accountability Table at the City of Toronto. Susan is a Board Member at Working for Change, a social enterprise organization that provides employment opportunities for individuals living with mental health and substance use issues. She is committed to creating services and systems that consider the whole person, treat all people with respect and dignity and create opportunities for people living with mental health and substance use needs to maximize their well-being.

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