Who you gonna call?
Regina has a great number of organizations that provide services and resources to help individuals in our city. Last week, the Carillon interviewed Aids Programs South Saskatchewan about services they provide, like harm reduction education. This week, Mobile Crisis Services will be added into the mix. According to their website, Mobile Crisis Services is a non-profit community-based organization that aims to provide comprehensive practices with social and health crisis intervention services. They provide a great deal of different services that work on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis.
Some services to take note of right off the hop are Mobile Crisis Helpline, Crisis Suicide Helpline, Mental Health, and Wellness. The team appears to work together towards a common goal of helping individuals involved with a wide range of crises. The Carillon spoke with Janet Thorson to see what they have to say about the organization.
Thorson is the executive director of Mobile Crisis Services. They have been with the agency for almost 38 years. The company provides almost all emergency social services to Regina after hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Mobile Crisis Services can help individuals with services like child welfare, emergency financial assistance, mental health intervention, emergency counselling, and domestic violence intervention. The following interview with Thorson gives an overview for how you can access services for yourself or others, and a bit about how responders from these services act on scene.
Mobile Crisis Services must have plenty of workers on hand to provide services. Can you explain what kind of education your workers may have to help individuals feel safe when contacting you?
When we are hiring candidates must have a degree, and we prefer those degrees be in a related area. This can include Social Work, Human Justice, Psychology, Psychiatric Nursing. […] Then the way we set up our agency is that our staff is trained in all areas that we work in. We provide 400 hours of training to anyone that is hired on with us, and whoever answers the phone is the person you are talking to; we do not transfer. Anyone who answers the phone here should be able to help you with whatever your issue is.
What are some good things the organization can be recognized for? How is this organization working hard to help individuals in our community?
Well, we don’t really look for recognition. A true value of our agency is confidentiality. We want to protect our clients from publicity or exposure. So, for example, if we are called to a fire and we are going to make arrangements for the family to move for accommodations, […] we would make every effort for those people to assure they are in a safe place and not exposed to any publicity if they do not want to be.
Same with our staff, we don’t identify ourselves. If you see a major scene in the city, you’ll see fire, ambulance, and police; we will be there too, but you won’t notice us as we will be dressed as civilians. […] Because we are providing a different service, we consider ourselves first responders.
Based on your website, you offer 6 main helplines and 11 programs and services. Let’s talk about one specifically. What do you do, and what should one expect when they approach a helpline or a program from your team?
Let’s talk about Emergency Financial Assistance. We have a contract with the Ministry of Social Services to provide emergency financial assistance after hours. So, that means if we are put in a position, we can write someone a food voucher or help them with accommodations. […] Our contract says that we will help a client get to the next working day, and at the point where the expectation is that they will approach the Ministry of Social Services. […] We do a mini-assessment with everyone to assure that we are providing the correct help in a timely way.
Can you explain why a service like this is highly important for our community to have?
I think it is critical, and I think if you asked our first responding partners like fire and police they would agree. The reason why Mobile Crisis Services was created, […] many police officers were doing social work in the middle of the night because there was nowhere for them to take people. […] So, then there was an approach to the Ministry of Social Services in the mental health clinic, and formed a committee and created Mobile. The idea was we would assist in the social side. So, for example, when looking at a domestic, the police would deal with the charges, then we will take the family and provide emergency accommodations. […] We pick up from the police and the fire. They do their job, but the client still needs help with the social problems and we take it from there.
What are some benefits people can gain from accessing your services?
The main benefit people can gain, for example dealing with more counselling issues, is that we can open up the door to them that other services that are out in the community that they may not be aware of. One thing we are good at here is a referral, so if you phone us and you have a problem and want more help than what we can give you on an emergency basis, we can refer you to counselling, Aids Program South Saskatchewan, the Regina Sexual Assault Centre, and more. […] They can talk to us on the short term then we can make a referral, we give the number and encourage them to call. We are not just talking to you for 30 minutes and letting you go. We are making sure you have somewhere to go afterwards.
Mobile Crisis Services are available at all hours. Thorson said their call line is always open: “If you have a problem, just give us a call. As I say, if we are not the people to help you, we will try to figure out who can.”