Too many people with mental health problems end up in cells

  • A report says that too many people are placed in cells after being turned away from hospitals in the middle of a mental health crisis.

    The CQC say that people are being turned away from hospitals due to full wards, staff shortages or because they were too young or too drunk, reports the BBC. /images/mentalhealth.jpg

    Police cells are inappropriate and make people feel "punished for being unwell", said the charity Mind.

    The CQC has said that in some areas, patients are well provided for however this standard is not universal.

    Between 2012 and 2013, in total 21,814 people were detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

    The CQC has found that 7,761 cases ended with the person in a police cell rather than hospitals or mental health units.

    Patients were being turned away from hospitals because they were violent, intoxicated, disturbed or under 18. Or because the hospitals either did not have an appropriate place to put them or staff with the right skills to deal with them.

    Mrs May said the situation "wastes police time" and leaves people with mental health problems without the care and support they need.

    "We must never accept a situation when a person in crisis is denied care because a health-based place of safety is full or unstaffed, or just because the person is intoxicated," she added.

    Dr Paul Lelliott, of the CQC, said the survey findings were "not good enough. Imagine if people who had had a heart attack or stroke, were regularly turned away from an A&E department due to a lack of staff or beds," he said.

    Sophie Corlett at Mind said: "Being detained in a cell is frightening, especially for someone in crisis, who is often confused, and might even be harming themselves, experiencing suicidal feelings or psychosis. An emergency is an emergency, and those who are intoxicated and in need of help should still receive the same level of mental health care and treatment as anyone else."

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