Street triage to team to deal with mental health emergencies

  • A new scheme has begun in the West Midlands to ensure people suffering with mental health issues are kept out of custody and receive the correct treatment.

    This Street Triage scheme will see mental health nurses and paramedics join police on callouts where people need mental health support.

    Mental health bosses have said that people in urgent need of mental health care during emergencies will benefit, reports the BBC.

    This pilot scheme hopes to follow in the footsteps of similar schemes that are already active across the country.

    Chief Inspector of the West Midlands Police, Sean Russell, said that the scheme will "help reduce demand on police and A&E resources" whilst also supporting people in crisis.

    Jon Short, chief executive at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation, said: "There's been a huge fuss in recent years over how much front-line police work deals with mental health issues. Lots of their call-outs are to disturbances in the street or domestic issues. Police have limited powers in these issues, so the outcome is often an arrest. The triage will allow trained paramedics and mental health nurses to asses people more thoroughly and to make police aware of the range of options available to them, such as if the person involved needs counselling or other care."

    Steve Parry, spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service, said the triage will "free up emergency services such as ambulances from attending many incidents unnecessarily".

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