Mental health help at police stations

Mental health help at police stations

Community Psychiatric Nurses Kieran McCollum and REvecca Green . At the back areJanet Childs Integrated Clinical Lead L and D, Sgt Steve May and Insp Debbie GraftonAt the front are Community Psychiatric Nurses Kieran McCollum and R.Evecca Green . At the back are Janet Childs Integrated Clinical Lead L and D, Sgt Steve May and Insp Debbie Grafton

Tuesday 30 December 2014 in News by Philip Jones

MENTAL health professionals are on hand in police stations across south Essex to ease pressure on police and help prevent vulnerable people reoffending.

The Department of Health announced £25 million of funding for mental health nurses to work in police stations in January.

A pilot scheme began in ten areas across the country in April, with nurses and other mental health professionals placed in Basildon, Southend and Thurrock police stations during office hours.

The scheme has now been expanded so that specialist support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Janet Childs, integrating clinical lead for South Essex Partnership Foundation Trust, which oversees mental health care, said: “The service we can offer now is completely different and it has helped a lot.

“We are even in a position now to employ more staff.

“Police, through no fault of their own, cannot diagnose mental health issues so it is good for us to be there all the time.

“We can then work with offenders to identify reasons behind their actions, and work to avoid it happening in the future.”

The Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion service is provided by the trust and they give support services for vulnerable people with learning disabilities or difficulties, mental health problems and other issues attending a police station of Magistrates’ Court.

Expert teams in the police stations and courts are made up of nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers, support workers and administration staff, who provide a range of services.

Deputy custody commander for Essex Police, Debbie Grafton, said: “It has made a huge difference for our staff.

“We are knowledgeable about mental health issues, but we are not professional, so to have them around to confirm our suspicions or take on self-referrals is fantastic.

“They also stay with offenders in custody, and after they have left, to help them turn their life around.”

Credit: The Echo News

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