Deal­ing with men­tal health cri­sis

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

SCHEMES in which men­tal health nurses work closely with po­lice on pa­trol and in call cen­tres have seen a drop in the num­ber of peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems be­ing de­tained, ac­cord­ing to a brief­ing pa­per.

The joint brief­ing pub­lished on Jan­uary 27 with men­tal health nurses and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Chief Po­lice Of­fi­cers com­mits or­gan­i­sa­tions to work to­gether to im­prove cri­sis care as re­ports in­crease of chil­dren and adults experiencing men­tal ill­ness.

The schemes, which in­clude street work and multi-agency train­ing, aim to cut the num­ber of men­tally un­well in­di­vid­u­als be­ing taken to po­lice cells when they re­quire ur­gent men­tal health­care and treat­ment in­stead.

Men­tal Health Net­work chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Dal­ton, said: “We know that for a small num­ber of peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems who ex­pe­ri­ence a cri­sis, the first re­sponse of the public is of­ten to call the po­lice.

“But the very na­ture of a men­tal health cri­sis means that a very vul­ner­a­ble per­son needs a fast, in­di­vid­ual, joinedup re­sponse.”

The As­sis­tant Chief Constable of Thames Val­ley Po­lice, Alan Baldwin, said: “It is clear that those experiencing men­tal health crises are amongst some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our so­ci­ety and do not be­long in the cus­tody of po­lice of­fi­cers and should not be held in po­lice cells.”

Over the last 12 months, in the Thames Val­ley area the num­ber of peo­ple be­ing taken into po­lice cus­tody whilst suf­fer­ing a men­tal health cri­sis has re­duced by 57 per cent.

As­sis­tant Chief Constable Baldwin said this was ‘good progress’ but stressed there is more work to be done.

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