MK Mental Health Pilot A "Success"

A pilot scheme to help police in Milton Keynes deal with people with mental health issues is being hailed such a success, it's being extended until March next year.

The Mental Health Triage Unit sees mental health professionals joining police on call-outs to people who, for instance, might be suicidal.

In the six months since it started, the number of people being put in cells under the Mental Health Act has dropped by 56%. Thames Valley Police says this "clearly shows that those suffering from a mental health crisis are being dealt with appropriately and signposted to the correct service following initial contact."

Highlights of the scheme:

  • Improved experience for people experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Fewer detainees are being released with no further need for mental health services suggesting more appropriate use of powers.
  • Better outcomes for people; where pathways have been identified people are remaining in services for longer increasing their rate of recovery.
  • Savings in police time when dealing with mental health incidents allowing them to assume other duties.
  • Officers report that mental health triage allows them to react faster, make more informed risk assessments and hence better decision. Officers report that they are gaining confidence when dealing with mental health crises.

Matt Jarrad, Team Manager for the scheme said "We are receiving positive feedback from patients coming into contact with the mental health triage team, with the evidence supporting the fact that fewer people are being detained under the Mental Health Act.

"With the majority of incidents, the health practitioner is able to offer meaningful early interventions to avoid a potential detentionor A&E attendance."

(In the picture: Police Constable Peter Green and Matt Jarrad, Team Manager for the scheme)

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