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Police support Mental Health Awareness Week

7 May 2021

Police in Hertfordshire are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, which starts on Monday (10 May) at a time when many people may be suffering from increased anxiety and stress.

Every day police officers come into contact with people in mental health crisis. The force works closely with partners in the health and emergency services in Hertfordshire to make sure those people receive the most appropriate care.

We know that COVID-19 and the associated restrictions have affected many people’s mental wellbeing. It is important to raise awareness of these issues and let people know where to access help and support.

The awareness week runs until Sunday (16 May) and has the theme of nature, something that has been vital to millions of people during the lockdowns. The force will be sharing messages on social media throughout the week using the nationally-recognised hashtag #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #ConnectWithNature

Detective Inspector Jo Briggs, who leads Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Mental Health and Policing team, said: “As a force, we are often dealing with members of the public at their most vulnerable. My team’s role is to work in partnership with mental health services to make sure no-one is unnecessarily detained under the Mental Health Act, make sure that mental health issues do not go undiagnosed in custody and work in partnership to support people.”

The force operates a ‘triage car’ which is double crewed with a police officer and a mental health practitioner to attend calls to the police involving someone believed to be in mental health crisis. Its role is to make sure they receive appropriate care.

Police officers also receive training about mental health issues so they can help refer people to the correct partner agencies.

DI Briggs also heads up the Safeguarding Adults from Abuse (SAFA) Unit which investigates crimes committed against vulnerable adults by people in a position of trust. This could include people with more severe mental health issues and their carers.

DI Briggs added: “The force takes mental health seriously and has invested in specialist resources to protect people who are vulnerable as a result of it. We will help them access the most appropriate care and support, while also bringing to justice anyone who tries to abuse someone because of their vulnerability.

“The week of awareness comes at an appropriate time and throughout it we will be sharing links on social media raising awareness of our work relating to mental health and helping people find support should they need it.”

There are many ways people can help reduce their anxiety levels before they become too much. Useful websites include the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Net (opens in a new window), Anxiety (opens in a new window), Calm Zone (opens in a new window) and Stress Busting (opens in a new window).

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