Next week it's Mental Health Awareness Week and we are keen to support it; mental health is something that affects us every day.
According to Mind, one in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year. We need to support both our staff and members of the communities we serve who are affected by mental health issues.
People with mental health issues might regularly contact us or they could be a victim of a crime. Findings from a report commissioned by Victim Support in 2013 found 45 percent of people with severe mental illness were victims of crime in the preceding year.
People contact us when they are in need of something and don’t know where else to turn. Most of the time our callers genuinely think the police can offer the support they need. As was clear in our 24-hour tweetathon last month, we receive a lot of calls from potential mental health sufferers.
Persistent calling of emergency services can be an early indication of a vulnerable person that needs help and support so we capture and refer these cases to help trigger early intervention, and hopefully provide suitable support.
In the past 12 months our top four repeat callers contacted us almost 5,000 times. We work with our local teams and partners to try and work out what the issue is and how we can resolve it for them and us. Sometimes it’s one incident that is causing a caller particular grief, more often than not it is related to mental health. Often by working with our partners we can support these callers.
Our approach is working; our most persistent caller during 2014 was identified and officers, with supporting intelligence and information held a meeting with the local healthcare team. By working together with partners within days the calls decreased, first a little, and then significantly. Since the action was taken, we’ve not received one call. The individuals concerned are undoubtedly better understood and arguably better supported than they were previously.
Chief Inspector Mark Jackson explains our approach.
Or you can contact the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or text 86463. They are able to provide information on where to get help in your local area.