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PCC and partners decide emergency requirements of Mental Health Concordat


PCC Sue Mountstevens with partners for the signing of local Mental Health Crisis Care Declarations back in April 2014

An action plan and the development of a common strategy for managing emergency treatment requirements of the Mental Health Concordat has been discussed by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens and partners at a recent meeting.

The emergency treatment and provision of places of safety for those experiencing mental health crises has been identified as a key issue, causing particular concern where frontline staff need support and guidance when dealing with such a situation.

At the meeting partners were able to openly discuss current arrangements, enabling a better understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities and how this could be best exploited when supporting an individual with mental health crisis.

The meeting is one of several hosted by the PCC since welcoming representatives from a range from a range of organisations across Avon and Somerset to discuss the development of local Mental Health Crisis Care Declarations back in April 2014.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: "Locally there is a real commitment from partners to work together to help people in mental health crisis. There is a lot of work taking place to deliver on the local Mental Health Crisis Care Declarations by all partners, however there is still more that we could all be doing in delivering this.

"Ensuring frontline staff are equipped to deal with such situations will ensure those individuals experiencing mental health crisis receive the most appropriate help and support they need at first point of contact. This can only happen if we have an open understanding of roles and responsibilities and a consistent approach going forward.

"We know that responding to the needs of individuals in mental health crisis can account for 20% of police time. When in many cases, many of the individuals need help from health and social care agencies, not the police. That is why these ongoing meetings and development of a common strategy is so important."

Since the announcement of the Concordat a new hospital based place of safety opened at Southmead in Bristol, with additional places of safety at the Rowan Ward in South Somerset and the Rydon Ward in Bridgwater.

As well as marking key dates such as today (10th Oct, 2015) World Mental Health Day, other initiatives being rolled out by Avon and Somerset Police include a street triage scheme, mental health awareness training and internal support for officers and staff in partnership with MIND.

The government published the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat in February 2014. The Concordat is a shared agreement that covers what needs to happen with people experiencing mental health crises need help; preventing crisis where possible and making sure effective emergency response systems are in place when this is not the case.

The Concordat (HM Government, 2014) is arranged around four main areas:

  • Access to support before crisis point – making sure people with mental health problems can get help 24 hours a day and when they ask for help they are taken seriously.
  • Urgent and emergency access to crisis care – making sure that a mental health crisis is treated with the same urgency as a physical health emergency.
  • The right quality treatment and care when in crisis – making sure that people are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Recovery and staying well, and preventing future crisis – by making sure people are referred to appropriate services.

The Concordat also sets out principles around the use of police cells for detaining people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.


Posted on Saturday 10th October 2015
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