The Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) is a parnership between Mental Health Workers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and specially-trained officers of the Hamilton Police Service. The program serves the residents of the City of Hamilton who have serious mental health issues and are in crisis.
Intake and Triage
Crisis Triage and Support Workers and other clinicians answer calls on the COAST crisis line. An intake assessment is completed, in which the person is asked about the situation, mental health concerns, and potential risks. Support, recommendations, and a plan for intervention are developed together, which could include mobile outreach.
The COAST mobile team consists of a Mental Health Professional and a plain-clothes Police Officer, driving an unmarked car. The team can visit a residence, workplace, school, or any safe location to complete an assessment. A plan is then developed which may include reviewing skills and safety planning, as well as making connections to other supports such as outpatient programs or Barrett Centre.
If the situation cannot be safely managed in the community, the COAST team will assist the person to hospital for further assessment and treatment.
The person will be referred to other community programs and agencies when appropriate. With consent, assessment information is shared with family doctors/primary care clinicians. Ongoing bridging support by telephone is offered to the person, as well as to families and caregivers as needed.