Corporal Echelle Malone has helped hundreds of Airdrie residents with mental health challenges and addictions get the help they need while avoiding incarceration.

Malone developed the innovative service delivery model behind the Airdrie RCMP Mental Health and Addictions Liaison Team (MHALT).

The team includes a partnership with Alberta Health Services to address unique challenges surrounding mental health and addiction. The goal is to identify those who need help and have multiple interactions with police and get them the services they need ahead of time.

“I possessed the passion, commitment and determination to ensure the success of this initiative,” says Malone, who has worked with the RCMP for 20 years, 15 of those in Airdrie.

“I have experienced firsthand the prevalence and impact that mental health and addictions have had on individuals and families. I recognized that a number of individuals and families who had frequent police contacts was primarily due to mental health and/or addiction issues and not criminality.”

She adds she developed the unit to divert these clients from the criminal justice system to the appropriate community supports and resources.

“The work that this unit does is rewarding in many ways, it is challenging at times, but it provides a sense of accomplishment when you can make a positive difference in someone’s life,” says Malone.

“It is fulfilling to be part of a collaborative approach between the RCMP and its community partners in addressing mental health and addiction issues in Airdrie.”

Staff Sergeant Steve Browne nominated Malone for the Amazing Advocate Award, saying she has worked tirelessly to ensure the program has been a success.

“Many residents and stakeholders have benefited from the work Echelle has put into mental health and addictions support services,” he adds.