Individuals experiencing or witnessing a mental health crisis can access the Toronto Community Crisis Service by calling 211 or 911. Appropriate calls will be dispatched based on the call location, dispatch criteria and availability of teams. For media inquiries, please contact media@toronto.ca.

Re-imagining Toronto’s Mental Health Response

The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) is a new, alternate approach to responding to someone in crisis that focuses on health, prevention and well-being. The service provides an alternative to police enforcement, creating a community-based, client centred, trauma-informed response to non-emergency crisis calls and wellness checks.
Toronto Community Crisis Service Logo

This service aims to respond to the needs and desires of the communities most impacted by policing and establish trust and confidence in a new community-based response model.

The Toronto Community Crisis Service supports individuals 16 years of age and older, the service hours of operation and area are provided below.

The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) is part of the City of Toronto’s commitment to treat mental health crises as a public health problem, not a public safety issue. The TCCS is a community-based service with multidisciplinary teams of crisis workers who will respond to non-emergency calls from people in crisis and requests for wellbeing checks.

TCCS is one of the key priority actions under SafeTO, Toronto’s 10 Year Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan.

Principles of Care

  • Enable multiple coordinated pathways for service-users to access crisis and support services
  • Ensure harm-reduction principles and a trauma-informed approach are incorporated in all aspects of crisis response
  • Ensure a transparent and consent-based service
  • Ground the service in the needs of the service-user, while providing adaptive and culturally relevant individual support needs;
  • Establish clear pathways for complaints, issues and data transparency

Background

In February 2021, Toronto City Council unanimously approved four community crisis support service pilots that will test a new, non-police led approach to non-emergency, non-violent calls, including those involving persons in crisis and wellness checks.

Our approach involved an intensive period of community engagement and research. It prioritized the communities that are most impacted by over-policing and that have lived-experience of the mental health, substance use, and justice system. From October to December 2020 the City:

  • Led 33 community roundtables with over 500 participants focused specifically on historically marginalized and over-policed groups
  • Conducted 2 surveys with a combined response rate of 6,384 responses
  • Completed 29 interviews with subject matter experts
  • Ran a public opinion poll with a representative sample of over 1,000 Torontonians
  • Reviewed 53 crisis response models from 50 jurisdictions across Canada and internationally.

The TCCS team provides crisis services in response to non-emergency mental health crisis calls and wellbeing checks.

Individuals aged 16 years and older can access the TCCS by calling 211 or 911. Multidisciplinary crisis teams will respond to calls received based on the call type, location, and availability of teams.

Beyond the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots, there are other supports available for people experiencing a mental health crisis and looking to connect with someone. Gerstein Crisis Centre offers crisis services 24/7 and can be reached by calling 416-929-5200.

TCCS was designed to serve individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and to connect them to the supports they need. It has intentionally prioritized communities that are impacted by over-policing and that have lived-experience of mental health issues and substance use.

TCCS has launched in four intentional areas of Toronto, offering a health focused response to those in crisis or to those seeking resources to support someone in crisis. The initial pilot communities were selected based on areas where the demonstrated need and calls for people in crisis are the highest in Toronto. Below are the pilot areas, which you can also view on TCCS Pilot Areas map.

Downtown East Pilot

  • Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Pilot Boundaries:
    • North: Bloor Street East to the Prince Edward Viaduct
    • East: Don River to Lakeshore Boulevard East to the Don Roadway
    • South: Toronto shoreline
    • West: Yonge Street to Dundas Square, east to Victoria Street, Dundas Street East, Yonge Street.
  • Community partner: Gerstein Crisis Centre

Northeast Pilot

  • Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Pilot Boundaries:
    • North: Steeles Avenue East
    • East: Pickering Town Line, Little Rouge River, Rouge River
    • South: Highway 401 west to Brimley Road, south from Brimley Road to the Scarborough shoreline
    • West: Victoria Park Avenue south to Highway 401, Highway 401 east to Brimley Road and Brimley Road South
  • Community partner: TAIBU Community Health Centre

Downtown West Pilot – Kamaamwizme wii Naagidiwendiiying

  • Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Pilot Boundaries:
    • North: Canadian Pacific Railway line
    • East: Spadina Avenue and Lower Spadina Avenue
    • South: Toronto shoreline
    • West: Dufferin Street south to Queen Street, west to Roncesvalles, south from Roncesvalles to the shoreline
  • Community partner: 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations in collaboration with ENAGB Indigenous Youth Agency and Niiwin Wendaanimak / Four Winds Indigenous Health and Wellness Program, based out of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre

Northwest Pilot

  • Hours: 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, Sunday 7 a.m. to Saturday 7 a.m.
  • Pilot Boundaries:
    • North: Steeles Avenue West
    • East: Canadian National Railway Line south to Highway 401, east to the Humber River
    • South: Highway 401 east to the Humber River and south to Eglinton Avenue West.
    • West: Highway 427
  • Community partner: Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto & partners in collaboration with Addiction Services of Central Ontario, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Black Health Alliance, CAFCAN, Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, Rexdale Community Health Centre and Yorktown Family Services

TAIBU Community Health Centre

TAIBU is at the forefront of the delivery of community health and social services to Black communities across the Greater Toronto Area. Grounded in an Afrocentric model of Black health and wellbeing TAIBU will offer comprehensive access to services and supports through its network of partners.

Gerstein Crisis Centre

for more than 30 years Gerstein Crisis Centre has offered 24 hour crisis services for individuals 16+ living in the City of Toronto who are living with mental health, concurrent or serious substance use issues. Gerstein Crisis Centre brings decades of experience in providing strengths-based, non-medical, trauma informed service.

2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations

2-Spirits will provide service centred on Indigenous philosophies of holistic health and wellness. Their approach places individuals at the centre of the medicine wheel. Service will be delivered in partnership with ENAGB Indigenous Youth Agency and Niiwin Wendaanimak / Four Winds Indigenous Health and Wellness Program, based out of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. The Downtown West Pilot has been given the traditional name Kamaamwizme wii Naagidiwendiiying which means coming together to heal/look after/take care of each other.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Toronto & partners

CMHA provides community-based support services that help people who are living with mental illness or mental health problems improve the quality of their lives in accordance with their defined needs. CMHA will bring an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and culturally safe approach to this work along with their collaboration with eight local organizations (Addiction Services of Central Ontario, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Black Health Alliance, CAFCAN, Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, Rexdale Community Health Centre and Yorktown Family Services).

The Toronto branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is currently recruiting for the following positions to help support this pilot:

Findhelp | 211 Central

As the Toronto Community Crisis Service’s intake and dispatch partner Findhelp | 211 Central will triage and dispatch appropriate calls to the mobile teams. Findhelp has been connecting people to the support they need through multi-lingual 211 services, specialty lines, websites and social media for over 60 years. With more than 250,000 contacts annually, and more than 60,000 agencies and programs maintained in their provincial database, they are one of the most experienced centres in North America.

 

TAIBU Community Health Centre Logo
2-Spirits Logo
Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto Logo
Gerstein Crisis Centre Logo
FindHelp 211 Central Region logo