Commissioner issues fresh pledge to support those with mental health problems
May 11th, 2015
As national Mental Health Awareness Week gets under way Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright reaffirmed his commitment to improving the system of care and support available to ensure that people experiencing a mental health crisis receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
Sir Graham said that huge progress has been made to improve the multi-agency response to vulnerable people suffering mental health problems in Cambridgeshire.
However, he said more work was needed to accelerate the recovery process and address any imbalances that existed in service provision.
Sir Graham was speaking on the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week – an annual event which runs between May 11 and 17 to raise awareness of mental illness and to promote mental wellbeing.
As Commissioner, Sir Graham is working together with a host of criminal justice partners, social care experts and health providers to deliver transformational reform to local mental health services, spearheading a number of schemes to enhance the support and care offered to victims.
Sir Graham has implemented a regular Mental Health Round Table meeting bringing together a multitude of agencies to improve outcomes for people experiencing mental health crisis through prevention, early intervention and information sharing.
The initiative has seen senior health and criminal justice leaders’ sign up to the Department of Health’s Crisis Concordat to declare their commitment to protecting the wellbeing of vulnerable members of society suffering a mental health issue.
Through joint working arrangements, they share experiences and practical advice to offer better solutions for vulnerable people as well as identify gaps in provision and support to remove any imbalances across service quality and availability.
Sir Graham has also worked closely with the Force on the implementation of a new scheme which sees a team of dedicated Community Psychiatric Nurses based at a number of centres across the county including at the trailblazing Victims’ Hub who are responsible for identifying and supporting victims of crime who appear to have significant mental health problems.
The role of the nurses is 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. Meanwhile, a system has been introduced to ensure people who find themselves in police custody with mental health problems are assessed and referred to the most appropriate treatment venue.
Sir Graham said: “I wholeheartedly support the message behind Mental Health Awareness Week which not only encourages people to take responsibility for their own personal wellbeing but also advocates the provision of effective support when things go wrong.
“In Cambridgeshire, we are taking a pioneering approach to mental health care to ensure that vulnerable people receive help swiftly so they have the best opportunity of recovery.
“We are already working in conjunction with a number of partners to provide access to effective treatment in the most appropriate setting which is not a police cell. Collectively we are safeguarding the dignity and rights of those who face mental health problems, maximising their chances of returning to full health and removing any danger to their safety.
“There is more work to do but I am confident that with the preventative work and the early intervention strategies we are pursuing we can improve outcomes in the long-term in health, education, employment and criminal justice.”
Alongside the Commissioner, partner organisations in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are signatories of the Crisis Care Concordat include 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.
Mental Health Awareness Week is run by the Mental Health Foundation – the UK’s leading mental health research, policy and service improvement charity.
This year, the event focuses on the topic of mindfulness – a self-management technique that helps people monitor the way they think and feel about their experiences. The campaign recognises the role that mindfulness can play in promoting good mental health.
For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week visit http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek/