Posted by: Laura Hammond
Tue 13th June 2023
A new county-wide mental health triage service has been launched by Derbyshire Constabulary and the NHS.
The new service will see police officers and mental health practitioners respond together to incidents where it’s thought that someone may need immediate mental health support.
There will be two triage cars – one for the north of the county and one for the south – and they will both operate every night of the week, from 4pm until midnight.
The service, co-funded by Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster, has been introduced following a successful trial last year.
The aim is to ensure people in crisis receive appropriate support while allowing police officers to respond to other emergency calls.
Fiona White, project lead for adult acute assessment services at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Usually when a person presents a risk of harming themselves or others, police officers often have to detain them under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act for their own safety or to protect the public. They will then undergo an assessment by mental health professionals at one of our hospital units.
The launch of the mental health street triage service means that the assessment process can happen much earlier, and the need to detain people unnecessarily is reduced.
“The street triage mental health practitioners can make an appropriate referral into the healthcare service that is needed, in collaboration with the team at Derbyshire Mental Health Helpline and Support Service.
“Research has shown that the time between 4pm and midnight is when the majority of Section 136 Detentions take place. We are excited to be working with the police to provide the right care for Derbyshire people who are in crisis or distress during these hours.”
Chief Inspector Glen Hoggard, mental health lead for Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “The feedback from the trial we ran last year was overwhelmingly positive.
“The number of calls made to the police often involve a mental health element and in many cases the police are not the most appropriate agency to be leading on the response.
“The introduction of this triage service will ensure that response officers can return to other calls for service and are not tied up for hours dealing with an incident.”
You can read the full update from Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust here.
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