Mental health project celebrates six months of success


A project that unites mental health professionals and the police so people can get care as soon as possible has celebrated its six-month anniversary.

The Milton Keynes mental health triage project, run jointly by Thames Valley Police and CNWL (Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust), operates between the hours of 6pm and 2am seven days a week.

During the six months of the CNWL-funded scheme, mental health triage was involved in 131 incidents, of which only nine have resulted in people being detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act (less than seven per cent).

Overall, that has resulted in a 56 per cent reduction year-to-date of S136 detentions, clearly showing 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 resume other duties.

Officers report that mental health triage allows them to react faster, make more informed risk assessments and hence better decisions. Officers report that they are gaining in confidence when dealing with mental health crises.

The scheme has been so successful that the pilot has been extended until 31 March 2016.

Insp Lee Brace, who coordinates mental health triage in Milton Keynes, said: “I am delighted with how successful the scheme has been so far. The most important factor is that people suffering mental health crises are getting the appropriate level of support at the right time.

“They are being signposted to the correct service provider at the earliest opportunity and I hope we can build on what has been achieved so far and continue to offer this joint service, not only now, but well into the future.”

Chief Insp Paul Halstead, Deputy Local Policing Area Commander for Milton Keynes, said: “This is a great example of partnership working to improve the service offered to vulnerable people experiencing mental health crises and providing the most appropriate care at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Matt Jarrad, Team Manager for the Assessment and Short Term Intervention Team and the Hospital Liaison Team at CNWL, 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 detention or A&E attendance.”