16/05/2016

PCC and Force Supports Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland and the force are supporting this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week which has relationships as its core theme.

This year’s key messages stress the importance of good relationships for good mental health. 

Cleveland Police is therefore highlighting local organisations which advise and support those who want to change their relationship with drugs or alcohol - as well as specialists who can help people in unhealthy personal relationships.

The Force was first to pilot a street triage service, with mental health nurses attending incidents alongside officers to assess the mental health of often vulnerable people. The nationally recognised pilot has since become permanent and over the last four years has resulted in less people with mental health illnesses being detained in police custody and more being referred to a place of safety and provided with the treatment and support they need.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “Cleveland piloted the street triage scheme which I funded before it was officially piloted by the Home Office.  It is an approach that works and we continue to support and I welcome the vote of confidence given by the Home office in our work and the extra resources to develop further any work around early intervention.”

Temporary Chief Constable Iain Spittal added: “We have very successful working relationships with the many local organisations offering information, advice and practical support for a variety of issues which could affect mental health, one of which is Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), who we have been working with since 2012.

“Our officers are also provided with training so they are equipped with awareness of mental health issues since their day to day work often means they are first in contact with sufferers.    

“Only last week we welcomed the news that Cleveland will be able to access additional funding from the Home Office to ensure fewer people in mental health crises pass through our custody offices.  The extra funding means vulnerable people should receive care and support from health professionals which is obviously more appropriate than them being detained in a custody setting.

“We will continue work with our partners on the local crisis care concordat group, considering how this money could potentially help us better protect more people We are also seeing improved joint working following the opening of the 24/7 Crisis Assessment Suite at Roseberry Park Hospital.”

Lisa Taylor, TEWV head of service for offender health, said “Having a good relationship with partner agencies and enabling them to understand and have the tools to support people with mental ill-health is of real importance. It not only means people are getting the correct care and support they require, but also that the Police are freed up to deal with other issues. We have been working with Cleveland Police for a few years now and the national recognition that our work and partnership has received is testament to the great working relationship we have.”