Mental health nurses based in the police control room is just one initiative being introduced in support of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens’ continued commitment to helping individuals experiencing mental health crisis.
During her Acceptance of Office, a week ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, the PCC also announced that as of next month police custody will only be used to detain people experiencing mental health crisis in exceptional circumstances.
This message will be relayed more widely when Ms Mountstevens shares her views with attendees at the annual Independent Custody Visiting Conference, of which the theme this year is supporting people in mental health crisis detained in custody.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I remain a passionate believer that police custody is the wrong place for detaining people who are mentally ill. It is absolutely inappropriate that we detain people who have committed no crime, who are distressed and need specialist care.
“With initiatives such as mental health nurses in the control room advising officers and staff on supporting people in mental health crisis and mental health street triage schemes such as the one in Bristol we can get there, but there is still much more we can do.
“As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, it is vitally important we take this opportunity to encourage people to speak out about mental health and raise awareness of this illness that affects so many.”
In 2014, the PCC joined local organisations in signing local agreements focusing on improving care for people experiencing mental health crisis and has reiterated her commitment to this important piece of work since being re-elected.
Speaking about the commitment to the series of principles, Sue said: “I will continue to work closely with our partners involved in delivering our Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat locally, to ensure we can support people when they need us most.”
The PCC is also using the national awareness week to highlight the importance of ‘Appropriate Adults’ in supporting vulnerable individuals in custody. Appropriate adults safeguard the welfare and rights of children and vulnerable adults detained or interviewed by the police.
Throughout the week the PCC will be publishing a series of guest blogs written by local appropriate adults across Avon and Somerset, sharing their experiences and encouraging others to consider becoming an Appropriate Adult Volunteer. To find out more about the role of an appropriate adult visit www.appropriateadult.org.uk.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May 2016), led by the Mental Health Foundation is focusing on the theme of relationships and how good relationships are essential to maintain good mental health. Find out more by visiting www.mentalhealth.org.uk or following the hashtag #MHAW16 on Twitter.
Posted on Monday 16th May 2016