Dealing with mental health crisis
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.