Windsor police respond to eight mental health crisis calls a day.

Nationally, a new Statistics Canada report says one in five police interactions deal with someone suffering from mental health disorders or a substance abuse problem.

Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick says the trend is growing year after year.

"There's lots of stress factors that cause mental health or episodes of mental health in any person, really. And as a result, police get called on an increasing basis to assist with this health crisis," he said. "It's certainly not a role that we want to be engaged in. We want there to be a long-term solution, and that is through the supports that are available."

There is a program here in Windsor that allows police and social workers to help people before they are in a crisis.

The Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) works with those who have mental health issues.

So far this year, Windsor police have received 1,100 calls from people suffering from a mental health crisis where a person is posing a danger to themselves or others.

COAST helps people deal with those interactions.

Linda Banks is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and members of COAST drop in on her once in awhile.

"They encourage me to take care of myself better. And they encourage me to take my medication," Banks said.

In the past year, COAST members have made more than 2,800 visits to more than 970 people, helping to keep people out of trouble with the police  and out of the hospital.

"I would have went right downhill. They'd have put me in St. Thomas if these guys hadn't come. I can tell you that," Banks said, referencing a new mental health ward in St. Thomas General Hospital. "They came and they helped the real me."

This week, Windsor police Const. Ken Burt and social worker Ivanka Simeunovic dropped by Banks' apartment.

"If we can get them back on track with their doctor, with whatever existing services that they had in place prior to our intervention, that's our focus," Simeunovic said.