Dr. Lesley Stevens, Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Southern Health, says: “We welcome today’s announcement, which validates our collaborative approach with police colleagues that has led to better care and support for people in crisis.
“With one-in-four people experiencing a mental health issue during their lives, it is inevitable that the police will come into contact with people who are mentally unwell. So effective partnership working is absolutely vital.
“There is still work to be done and we are committed to further developing our services together in the future. That’s why we’ve just signed the Crisis Care Concordat declaration with police, local authorities and ambulance service partners to develop and deliver local actions to keep improving mental health crisis care.”
Over the last few years, Southern Health has developed a close partnership with Hampshire Constabulary and has made significant progress:
Throughout 2014, Southern Health worked with key agencies to establish an action plan – the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat - to help people in crisis as a result of their mental health. A declaration of that commitment was signed off in December, and work is now underway to implement that plan.
Mental health staff worked with Hampshire Constabulary on patrol and in police control centres. The pilot led to a 50 per cent drop in the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act.
Created training packages for all front line police officers to better equip them for working with people who are mentally unwell.
Increased the number of hospital places of safety, greatly increasing the number of people being taken to a hospital rather than a police station.
Together with the police and other agencies, local ‘Partnership in Practice’ groups have been created. These are focused on supporting the police to consider alternative strategies to the use of their Mental Health Act powers.