get me out of here

Gerstein Crisis Centre was established 25 years ago in Toronto to meet the recognized need for providing non-medical community based support reflecting the needs and wishes of people experiencing mental health crisis.

Key Milestones in the organization’s history:

    • Dr. Reva Gerstein establishes the Centre in 1989 following her report: “The Mayor’s Action Task Force on Discharged Mental Patients” for the City of Toronto. Contact Gerstein on Charles if you would like a copy of the report.
    • Thanks to funding from the Ministry of Health, in August 1989, services began with the telephone crisis line and mobile team operating during limited hours.

    • In February, 1990, the Charles Street site officially opens with 20 crisis staff, providing 24/7 service, including 10 crisis beds offering three day crisis stays.

    • In 1995, Gerstein Centre enters into a partnership with the Salvation Army Maxwell Meighen Centre and Evangeline Centre to establish the Primary Support Unit (PSU), providing short-term residential support to homeless people experiencing mental health crisis and in need of support and stable housing.

    • In 1996, Gerstein Centre enters into a partnership with Anduhyan Women’s Shelter to establish the Aboriginal Crisis Intervention Program. When this program was divested to Anishnawbe Health in 2007, the Aboriginal Crisis Management Program was established.

    • Since 1999, the Centre has partnered with Griffin Centre to provide transitional housing for dually diagnosed homeless adults through the Homebase Program. This partnership has since grown to include the Griffin Community Support Network,Vita Community Living Services and the GBC Day Program.

    • In 2005, the Centre receives funding to create Mental Health and Justice Short term Residential Crisis Beds for individuals who are dealing with a mental health issue and are currently involved in the Criminal Justice System. Four additional Mental Health and Justice Short term Residential Crisis beds for men are added to the PSU operated out of Salvation Army Maxwell Meighen Centre.

    • In 2006, the Centre receives additional funding to increase the number of MH&J beds available in downtown Toronto.  An interim site is set up in partnership with High Park Villa and Habitat Services creating 5 new beds while work is started to create a stand alone centre that will house all 9 MH&J Beds and the 5 Female Crisis Beds (once located at the Salvation Army Evangeline Residence).

    • In 2007, the Centre establishes a second location “Gerstein on Bloor” at 1045 Bloor Street West thanks to the additional funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

    • In 2010, the Centre is asked by the Toronto Central LHIN and the Toronto Drug Strategy to create a 24 hour crisis service for Adults dealing with concurrent or serious substance use issues.  The Substance Use Crisis Management and Follow-up Team is established, integrated with the centre’s existing crisis services for 24 hour response and 7 crisis beds are created through partnership with University Health Network Ossington Withdrawal Management Site and Eva’s Satellite.

Dr. Reva Gerstein

Reva Gerstein, C.C., O.Ont., Ph.D., LL.D.

Dr. Reva Gerstein has had a long and distinguished career as a psychologist, educator and community leader. She has made an extraordinary impact on mental health and its related research. Educated as a psychologist, she received her Ph.D. from University of Toronto in 1945.

Dr. Gerstein was Chancellor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario and has received honourary doctorates from University of Toronto, York University, University of Western Ontario, Lakehead University, University of Guelph and Queen’s University.

Dr. Gerstein worked with Clarence Hincks in founding Canadian Mental Health Association and later became the first Director of Program Planning for C.M.H.A. In 1987, she received the C.M. Hincks Award from the C.M.H.A.

She is an Honourary Life Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association and a Life Member of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Gerstein is a Founder and Past Chair of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and Founder and Past Chair of the C.M. Hincks Child and Adolescent Centre.

She is a past member of the Board of Directors and Honourary Trustee of The Hospital For Sick Children and a past member of the Board of Governors of Mount Sinai Hospital.

In the 1980’s, Dr. Gerstein chaired the Toronto Mayor’s Action Task Force on Discharged Psychiatric Patients. The Report of the Task Force was published in 1984 and as a result of its recommendations, a number of significant community mental health services were established in Toronto. Among them was Gerstein Crisis Centre, which was opened in 1989. Dr. Gerstein chaired its founding Board and remains involved in the Centre today.

Dr. Gerstein’s contributions to the field of mental health have been internationally recognized.  She is a Member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.  She was promoted within the Order of Canada to Companion in 1997.