New mental health triage service launched to support police and emergency services

Date: 05 Sep 2016

Category: Updates

Mental health, police and emergency services in Avon and Somerset have joined forces to ensure that those with mental health problems get the care they need in Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.

On 5 September, Avon and Somerset Police and Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, in partnership with NHS North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Avon Fire and Rescue Service, will launch a mental health triage service operating at Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters in Portishead.

The service, called the Control Room Triage, is a tri-service initiative bringing together local police forces, fire brigades and the local NHS. It will place experienced mental health professionals into the police communications centre to offer real time advice and guidance to support police and fire service officers who have to respond to incidents relating to mental ill-health. The new service will link in with mental health colleagues working in services across Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.

"Mental health is a priority area with one in four people in the UK experiencing mental health problems at some point in their lives. This service will provide essential support for those who are experiencing a deterioration in their mental health by helping them to get access to the services they need at the earliest opportunity, and we are really pleased to be launching this service with our partners in the police and fire services."

- Jill Shepherd Chief Officer, Bristol CCG and co-ordinating commissioner for Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust

"Having trained mental health nurses based in the police communications centre will make a real difference to someone experiencing mental health crisis. The nurses will be able to advise officers and staff on supporting people who are mentally ill and will be able to administer appropriate help and support at the very first point of contact. By bringing partners together this new approach aims to fully support people who are mentally ill, ensuring they receive the appropriate care when they need it most."

- Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner

"We are delighted to have been able to work with our partners to launch this service. This will help make sure that people with mental health problems get the right care, in the right place and will enable us to provide support before people get to crisis point."

- Hayley Richards, Chief Executive of Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust

"We are really pleased to be introducing this service. We have already seen the success of working with partners to deliver our Street Triage service and the Control Room Triage is another key development. For our call handlers and officers, having the on-site, immediate support of a qualified mental health nurse will ensure we can reduce demand and ensure faster, more appropriate help is administered to those in need."

- ACC Nikki Watson, Avon & Somerset Police

Control room triage

Left to right: Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Watson; Matthew Page, Deputy Director of Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust; Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens; Jill Shepherd, Chief Officer of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group; Stephen Hopkins, Communications Mental Health Triage, Avon And Wiltshire Mental  Health Partnership Trust; Matt Bailey, Local Policing Sergeant Portishead; Susan Martin, Mental Health Liaison Officer; Vicky Pestel, NHS North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group Transformation Project Manager .