Yesterday (4/2) Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Police participated in Time to Talk Day - part of the national campaign Time to Change run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness - aimed at reducing stigma and encouraging more people to talk freely about mental health and how it affects them.
PCC Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Andy Marsh attended a Time to Talk event at The Station in central Bristol. They met with Time to Change Champions, volunteers with lived experience of mental health issues, who were starting conversations with the public to break down mental health stigma and discrimination.
As part of the day, both also met members of the Bristol street triage scheme which has been running from The Bridewell police station since September and sees mental health professionals attend police incidents involving someone with a mental health problem. They are able to access medical records and recommend what action is taken with the aim of avoiding people being detained unnecessarily under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “It was great to be able to join Andy, our new Chief Constable for a Time to Talk Day event in Bristol. I think it is really important that everyone takes a moment to think about those people affected by mental health problems and whether there’s something more each of us can do to support them.
“We also visited the Bristol street triage scheme who are providing invaluable support in identifying and supporting people with a learning disability, personality disorder, substance misuse or mental health issues, at the first point of contact.
“It’s clear that working alongside trained mental health professionals is not only making a difference to officers but most importantly to those individuals in need.”
As part of Time to Talk Day, staff and officers across the force pledged how they plan to help reduce mental health stigma and look out for those around them. They also encouraged members of the public to get involved and make pledges of their own.
Assistant Chief Constable and Avon and Somerset’s mental health lead, Nikki Watson said: “Mental health issues are surprisingly common. Reducing stigma and encouraging people to talk more openly about mental health is the best way to begin helping and supporting those affected by it.”
Angela Etherington, SE & SW Regional & Equalities Coordinator for Time to Change said “Time to Talk Day is a key event for our organisation; it highlights the importance of talking to combat and help others recognise the impact of mental health issues. We are really pleased that Avon and Somerset Police have supported this event and we hope that our activities help get people talking about mental health.”
Similar events were run across the city and in Taunton. Bristol is one of only three Time to Change Hubs across the UK, running activities and opportunities for those affected by mental health issues. For more details about Time to Change visit www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Posted on Friday 5th February 2016