Posted on 4 July 2013 by

Why Winnipeg’s Crisis Response Centre is so important

NB: I've noticed that several people looking for the Crisis Response Centre's phone number have ended up on this page. has contact information for mental health services in Winnipeg. The Crisis Response Centre's (817 Bannatyne Ave.) phone number is 204-940-1781, and the WRHA's Mobile Crisis Service may also be reached at 204-940-1781.

If you prefer, the Klinic Community Health Centre (870 Portage Ave.) has a 24-hour telephone crisis line (204-786-8686 / toll-free: 1-888-322-3019), a sexual assault crisis line (204-786-8631 / toll-free: 1-888-292-7565), and a suicide prevention line (toll-free: 1-877-435-7170).

The Manitoban government has also posted this page, which includes a list of crisis services in Manitoba by region.

It's always okay to reach out to these health services, even if you're unsure. They exist to help you or a loved one, and there's never a wrong time to reach out to these services.

Dr. Greg Smith on wrote an article entitled "For psychiatric patients, waiting is the hardest part."

The title of the article says it all. When you walk into the emergency room with a severe wound, you're seen straight away (assuming that no one else has a more severe wound, of course). If a patient with suicidal ideation comes in, they might have to wait for hours or not receive the help they need. I've heard stories about suicidal patients walking out of the ER after waiting too long, be it minutes or hours. Emergency rooms just aren't equipped to deal with severe mental health crises, despite the fact that mental health patients in crisis need immediate emergency psychiatric care.

That's why Winnipeg's Crisis Response Centre is so important. It's a round-the-clock centre for Winnipeg residents experiencing a mental health crisis. Patients who show up at emergency rooms at other hospitals (such as St. Boniface Hospital, Concordia Hospital, Victoria Hospital, etc.) for a mental health crisis are taken to the Crisis Response Centre instead of waiting for hours, where they are seen as soon as possible in a relaxing, supportive environment.

Winnipeg residents experiencing a mental health crisis should not hesitate to reach out to the Crisis Response Centre at 817 Bannatyne Avenue. If necessary, the WRHA's Mobile Crisis Service can be reached at 204-940-1781.

Every year, over 10,000 people visit Winnipeg Emergency Departments for mental health crises, with less than 15 per cent requiring hospitalization. The new centre will accommodate at least 10,000 patient visits and will be closely linked with Health Sciences Centre’s Emergency Department.
- Susie Strachan, WRHA

I'm just glad that the province is taking mental health so seriously. 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. You, your family, or your friends could fall into that 20%. It's good to know that I won't have to deal with a mental health crisis on my own. Pharmacists should consider the Crisis Response Centre when referring patients. I know I would/will.

Have you heard about the Crisis Response Centre? Do you think it's an important initiative, or is it unnecessary? Let me know what you think; comment below!