Commissioner Supports National Mental Health Awareness Week
Nottinghamshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping praised the transformation of mental health care in the county as he backed a national awareness campaign.
Mr Tipping said effective partnerships had dramatically improved the response to those in the grip of a mental health crisis across the county but he said more work was needed.
The PCC was speaking in support of Mental Health Awareness Week - an annual publicity campaign running from May 8-14 which shines a spotlight on mental illness and its impact on individuals and their families.
This year's campaign focuses on the theme ‘Surviving or Thriving' and examines why so many people are not thriving with good mental health.
"Thanks to a proactive partnership with our healthcare colleagues vulnerable people in Nottinghamshire no longer face the indignity of being locked up in a police cell when what they need is professional, health-based intervention," said Mr Tipping.
"Police now have access to ongoing, specialist advice to ensure vulnerable people suffering a mental health crisis are identified from the outset and are given appropriate care.
"Despite the positive progress made, however, demand issues remain and it remains a fact that the police are often the emergency service dealing with crisis situations.
"While this is less than ideal, I'm pleased that in Nottinghamshire we have an NHS-funded specialist nurse located in our control room to provide advice and support to our officers."
In Nottinghamshire, 52 statutory and non-statutory organisations signed up to the Crisis Care Concordat - a multi-agency agreement to improve the response to people in mental health crisis in the county.
The partnership resulted in a host of positive changes including the launch of a ‘Street Triage' scheme giving access to those with mental health issues in Nottinghamshire to the right care and treatment in emergency situations.
The scheme sees specially trained mental health nurses from Nottinghamshire Healthcare join police officers on callouts in unmarked street triage cars throughout Nottinghamshire when vulnerable people need immediate mental health support.
Last year, Nottinghamshire received almost £600,000 joint funding from the Department of Health as part of the Government's commitment to ensure proper provision of health and community-based places of safety for people suffering mental illness.
The money is funding new facilities in the East Midlands, including vehicles for conveying people in crisis, and the refurbishment of the existing health-based places of safety at Millbrook Mental Health Unit and Highbury Hospital.
There is also a Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion (CJLD) team, commissioned by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, operating in police stations and courts in the city and county. The CJLD identifies those arrested for criminal offences with Mental Health issues and works with them to reduce reoffending and provide support for their Mental Health.
About one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year while one in six people in England report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week.
"People with medical issues need medical help," said Mr Tipping. "We are doing everything possible to ensure that happens to ensure vulnerable people are referred to a professional who can specifically address their needs."
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