555 Christina Street N, PO Box 2776. Sarnia, ON N7T 7W1
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HealthIM Rollout


Broadcast time: 2:20 PM

Date: January 12, 2021

Today the Sarnia Police Service implements the use of the interRAI Brief Mental Health Screener (BMHS) in conjunction with Bluewater Health and Canadian Mental Health Association Lambton Kent (CMHA Lambton Kent).

The BMHS is an assessment tool designed for law enforcement use that focuses on immediate risk related to mental health presentation. Developed by Health IM, the BMHS is beginning to roll out across the province as Police and Healthcare leaders commit to improving collaboration and care coordination for individuals whom police come into contact with, who require mental health care. The BMHS assists officers and local healthcare professionals in the response, assessment, and course of action when responding to those suffering with mental health episodes that police are required to attend.

The BMHS is accessible on the officers’ mobile devices and allows them to access and input information regarding the individual that they are dealing with. The ongoing use of this tool will provide officers with a history of contacts, prior assessments, and will detect and alert officers when there is a significant change in score severity and when a high-risk event is detected. Completed assessments are then forwarded to Bluewater Health or CMHA Lambton Kent for the most appropriate follow up, giving care providers real-time documentation, improving the transition of care, and patient care outcomes.

In communities that have already adopted this tool, they have demonstrated decreased apprehension times, reduced hospital wait times and increased admission ratios. This is an indicator that the tool is helping improve mental health decision-making in the community, and the appropriateness of mental health apprehensions. Both improve access to care and ensure that the patient is cared for in the right place.

The BMHS is a tool that is highlighted in the “Tools for Developing Police-Hospital Transition Protocols in Ontario” a document endorsed by both the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario Hospital Association, CMHA Ontario and the Human Service and Justice Coordinating Committee.

Chief Norm Hansen states, “I am excited to further enhance our officers’ ability to assess and serve those needing Mental Health intervention and possible medical help. The fact that this software allows officers to not only properly assess a person but then pass on real time information to Bluewater Health or CMHA Lambton Kent is a tremendous improvement in our response to Mental Health calls for service.

Bluewater Health’s Dr. Chris Borek (Chief of Emergency Department Services) adds, “As the demand for mental health care continues to rise, it is more important than ever that we are able to ensure our patients are utilizing the most appropriate services to ensure acute care beds are available when we need them. When Sarnia police bring an individual with mental health concerns to our Emergency Department, we are working to improve transmission of information during our handover of care. Through use of these standard processes we can work to ensure patient safety and that patients receive the care they need.”

The adoption of the tool has also been met with strong support from CMHA Lambton Kent. “The use of the interRAI Brief Mental Health Screener (BMHS) among police, hospital and community partners creates a standard language and common expectations,” explains Rhonny Doxtator, CMHA Lambton Kent, Director of Operations, “and this improves transitions of care for individuals who require mental health care.”


Constable Giovanni Sottosanti

Media Officer

Tel: 519-344-8861 Ext 6168

Email: 168@police.sarnia.on.ca