Evidence for joint police and mental health responses for people in mental health crisis
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Evidence for joint police and mental health responses for people in mental health crisis

Andrew Lancaster Community mental health nurse, NHS Tayside Community Mental Health Team, Perth, Scotland

In the UK, police officers who respond to people in mental health crisis in the community must judge whether or not the people they are dealing with require assessment by mental health professionals. However, many police staff lack the skills and knowledge to make such decisions, which can lead to inappropriate use of mental health legislation or arrests. This article reviews the evidence on mobile crisis teams, which deliver a joint response from the police and mental health services to people in mental health crisis in the community. It describes how these teams can improve outcomes for people in mental health crisis, reduce inappropriate use of mental health legislation and hospital admissions, increase user engagement, strengthen relationships between the police and health services, and potentially reduce costs to public services.

Correspondence andrew.lancaster@nhs.net

Mental Health Practice. 19, 10,20-26. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2016.e1067

Received: 03 March 2015

Accepted: 08 December 2015

Published in print: 07 July 2016

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using automated software

Conflict Of Interest

None declared