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Cambridgeshire takes pioneering approach to mental health

Cambridgeshire is taking a pioneering approach to tackling issues associated with mental health, with public service organisations committing to working together to prevent mental health crises happening whenever possible.

Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is taking a leading role in bringing public services together and will host a second mental health roundtable on November 3, where senior leaders will publicly sign a local joint declaration. The declaration is aimed at improving outcomes for people experiencing mental health crisis through prevention, early intervention and sharing information.

Alongside the Commissioner, organisations involved in the local joint declaration include the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS England Local Area teams, commissioners of local services, the Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Ambulance Service, NHS providers of urgent and emergency care and public/ independent providers of NHS funded mental health services.

Sir Graham Bright said: “We really are taking a pioneering approach to mental health here in Cambridgeshire. We are thinking broadly and innovatively and introducing trailblazing projects and initiatives that will improve outcomes across the board for victims and offenders as well as all public services involved in their care.

“From a policing point of view I have long said that people in mental health crisis need to be dealt with by the right people, with the right skills, at the right time and in the right place. In the past many have ended up in our cells and that is a situation that is now improving. But it is equally important to provide support to victims of crime, including those who are particularly vulnerable. In this respect, our Victims’ Hub is also leading the way.”

Cambridgeshire is also currently recruiting for a team of dedicated Community Psychiatric Nurses, known as Mental Health Pathfinder Case Workers, to work alongside those in the trailblazing Victims’ Hub who are responsible for identifying and supporting victims of crime who appear to have significant mental health problems. The Pathfinder Case Workers are being recruited using £150,000 awarded to the Police and Crime Commissioner by the Ministry of Justice.

The role of those being recruited into the Mental Health Pathfinder Project will be to ensure mental health problems are identified at an early stage and those victims are supported to receive appropriate treatment and care for their mental health through existing pathways. They will be co-located with Peterborough Women’s Aid and a Migrant Support Worker for Fenland in the police-led multi-agency safeguarding Victims’ Hub.

Steve Welby, Head of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Victims’ Hub said: “The impact of being a victim of crime can, for some people, create high levels of anxiety and be the cause of mental health problems.

“Making the expertise of a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) available to staff in the Victims’ Hub is an excellent way of ensuring that there is a better understanding of mental health issues when they are developing a care plan with the victim. I am also excited by the ability of the CPN to actually help victims improve their access to the medical support they need to help them cope and recover from their experience. Offering mental health assessments when appropriate and using their detailed knowledge of the health pathways the CPN can ensure the victim receives the specific help they need from the Health Service.”

Further information on the Victims’ Hub can be found here