Imagine if the powers-that-be could look into a crystal ball and see the consequences of their good ideas.
The following is a UK initiative but I have no doubt a similar programme would be warranted here: mental health nurses routinely accompanying police to attend to emergencies.
It's an eminently sensible idea but it's sad to see mentally unwell people reach the point where they come to the attention of the police. That they become a danger to themselves and others. The incidence is obviously reasonably common in the UK and statistics relating to the mental health of our prison population would suggest similarities with British society.
It seems that some at-risk people are left in or to the community until they reach the point where they end up in a far worse institution than hospital or residential care home.
As part of the scheme, mental health nurses will:
The five new police forces that the Department of Health will be working with are:
- Support police officers while they are out on patrol
- Assist officers when they are responding to emergency calls
- Give advice to staff in police control rooms
- Metropolitan Police
- British Transport Police
- West Yorkshire Police
- West Midlands Police
- Thames Valley Police
In launching these new pilot sites, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:Making sure people with mental health problems get the right assessment, care and treatment they need as quickly as possible is really important, especially in emergency situations.
We know that some police forces are already doing an extremely good job of handling circumstances involving mentally ill people but we want this to be the reality everywhere. By providing police forces with the support of health professionals we can give officers the skills they need to treat vulnerable people appropriately in times of crisis.