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Sudbury committee that helps high-risk individuals celebrates 10 years

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A committee consisting of 40 Greater Sudbury-area agencies celebrated 10 years of service on Tuesday.

Numerous groups gathered at the Northbury Conference Centre on Brady Street to listen to speeches from individuals who have been a part of the committee since it began.

A committee consisting of 40 agencies in the Greater Sudbury area celebrated 10 years of service on May 28, 2024 with several groups gathering at the Northbury Conference Centre on Brady Street to listen to speeches from individuals who have been a part of the committee since it began. (Amanda Hicks/CTV News Northern Ontario)

The Rapid Mobilization Table (RMT) was launched in 2014 by Community Mobilization Sudbury, led by the Sudbury-Manitoulin chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Stephanie Lefebvre, director of programs and planning for CMHA, was one of the founders of the initiative and he told CTV News it was started out of a need to help more people.

In 2014, there were only three RMTs across the province.

"It was a creative way to bring partners together, to identify and to also very quickly respond to situations of high risk in our community," she said.

"Where there are individuals, families or sometimes even locations where there was considered to be a very high risk of harm, we could quickly mobilize, share information in a way that protected privacy and then respond immediately after that meeting."

Kevin Cooper, executive director of Sudbury Community Service Center, was involved in the initiative right from its inception. He said RMT was created to get partners talking, rather than working on an individual basis.

"When we were working individually, it didn't work well. We had to work as a group," he said.

"We had to work as a committee. We had to sort of sit down and say, what can we do to actually change people's lives? What can we do?"

The group meets twice per week, where solutions are discussed to help people in need in the community.

"Risk can be any number of things. It can be a risk of losing housing. It can be a risk of a mental health crisis, it can be a risk of an escalation in aggression or criminal activity," said Lefebvre.

“The kinds of things that the RMT addresses are really far and wide, but there has to be this imminent risk of harm, imminent and significant harm."

Some of the RMT partners include Greater Sudbury Police Services (GSPS), Reseau Access Network, the Go-Give Project, the City of Greater Sudbury, Sudbury and Area Victim Services, the Homelessness Network and N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre.

GSPS Constable Dan Gelinas has been an RMT Liaison Officer for five years. He said the communication with numerous agencies allows him to assist more quickly.

"We have a direct contact to various agencies, which is super beneficial," he said.

"This way here, the individual that is indeed is able to connect directly with that person and obtain the services as required."

From May 2014 to April 2024, RMT has helped 1,700 people in need.

Cooper told CTV News the impact is more than just the numbers.

"The numbers only say so much. It's what the impact has on people,” he said.

“That's the most important thing for all of us and the dedication that people show is just incredible.”

Cooper said he has seen the impact it's had on people first-hand.

"This committee is really focused on putting out fires and making sure that they take care of the immediate needs," he said.

"But three or four years down the road, I see people coming back to me saying, 'You've changed my life.'"

Lefebvre said the 10th anniversary of RMT makes her feel proud.

"This is an initiative that I can truly say is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done in my professional career," she said.

"It means a lot to me. It meant a lot to me then and continues to mean a lot to me now." 

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