How we are supporting people in mental health crisis
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Hertfordshire Constabulary is shining the spotlight on its Mental Health and Policing Unit in support of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), which starts today (Monday 15 May).
To help raise awareness of mental health, the policing team which trains police officers to deal with people experiencing mental health crisis has produced a video for its TikTok, Instagram and Facebook social media accounts. It can be found @HertsPolice (opens in a new window).
Detective Inspector Sarah Gilbertson, who heads up the department, said: “Sadly mental ill-health is on the rise and it does not discriminate – it can affect anyone at any time. The core function of the police is to protect life and keep people safe. We are not experts in mental health, but we will intervene to ensure people with mental ill-health are taken somewhere they can receive the help they need.”
The team works in close partnership with a number of agencies including the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), Herts County Council (HCC) as well as the national charity, Mind which runs local crisis cafes and Nightlight.
She said: “We have a street triage team which includes a mental health nurse who can assess someone at the scene of an incident.
“We also train police officers to identify when someone is in mental health crisis and how best to communicate with them.”
Police officers have the power to use section 136s of the Mental Health Act which means they can detain someone who appears to be suffering from a mental health disorder and is in need of immediate care and control so that they can be taken to a place of safety.
DI Gilbertson added: “We will only use S136s as a last resort as there are plenty of other options available to officers. Our priority is always the safety and well-being of members of the public.”