Mental Health Awareness Week

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Press Release on behalf of Mersey Care NHS Trust

 

For Immediate Release                                                                   11 May, 2015

 

Merseyside Police is continuing to support Mersey Care and mental health services across the region during Mental Health Awareness Week.

 

The force has long been part of multi-agency health agreement and works with partners to deliver a high-quality response, as well as to improve the system of care, to support those with mental health problems.

 

One in four calls to Merseyside Police is linked to mental health in some way and the force is continually working to ensure that all those experiencing mental ill-health get the right care and support at the right time, without being criminalised, stigmatised or put in a position of fear.

 

Detective Superintendent Tim Keelan said: “Mental health is everyone’s business and as a police force we have a duty to the public to ensure our officers are able to provide the best possible service to those suffering mental health issues. As well as a dedicated mental health liaison officer, the force has worked closely with our partners to provide better training for our staff, to ensure we offer the right care and support at the right time.”

 

Although the force have always taken individuals detained under S136 Mental Health Act to health based places of safety rather than police cells, in 2012, the force began a collaborative piece of work with Mersey care to improve the process around the use of  Section 136.  Reports indicate that responding to those with mental health needs can account for up to 20% of police time, when in many cases these individuals require help from health and social care agencies, not the police.

 

Tim added: “Our officers frequently come into contact with people who may have mental health issues. It is always a carefully considered decision before someone who is suffering mental-ill health is taken into custody and our approach has been recognised as best practice by the HMIC.”

 

In 2014, Merseyside Police and Mersey Care NHS Trust also launched a Triage Car. The car is a mobile service, whereby an officer and psychiatric nurse are able to provide an on-the-spot assessment and advice.

 

Tim continued: “The safety and wellbeing of people believed to have mental health issues is paramount, and we need to continue working together to continue to improve the way we respond to the most vulnerable in society.”

Joe Rafferty, Mersey Care’s chief executive, said: “I know Merseyside Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, is as pleased as I am about the excellent working partnership between Mersey Care and the police. She has been particularly impressed that patients detained on Section 136 have reduced by over 40% since the introduction of street cars.

 

 “She is also impressed with the excellent reputation of our Criminal Justice Liaison Team has in making what are often very complex, inter-agency relationships operate smoothly. In many ways when people with mental illness encounter the criminal justice system, there is a potential for stigma to rapidly and destructively emerge. We are very lucky in Mersey Care to have this team creating the sort of high level partnership working that is a national exemplar and which keeps so many vulnerable people safe.”

For further information contact: Mersey Care Communications on 0151-471-2336 or communications@merseycare.nhs.uk or Merseyside Police press office on 0151-777-8566.