The police and NHS will meet in Greater Manchester today to discuss how to tackle mental health issues. It follows a pilot scheme in Oldham to help officers identify people who need support from professionals when they attend incidents. The scheme has since been extended across the whole area.
The mental health triage scheme gives police officers 24 hour telephone contact with specialist mental health teams to make sure the person involved gets the right care. Previously officers made a decision based on their own assessment. Following its launch in Oldham in December last year, the service has resulted in quicker assessments for people suffering a mental health crisis. Police say the the service means people suffering a mental health crisis are getting the support they need more quickly and are being looked after by a healthcare professional – not by a police officer and not in a police cell.
People self-harming or attempting suicide at mental health hospitals has doubled in parts of the region, according to figures obtained by the Labour Party.
Shadow Public Health Minister and Liverpool MP Luciana Berger says incidents in Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire have risen from 1877 hundred to over 3072 over a three year period. The figures were obtained by a freedom of information request.
Meanwhile some health experts are warning that acute mental health services are struggling to cope with demand.
A new study says people with mental health problems are two and a half times more likely to be murder or manslaughter victims.
Over a three-year period, 1,496 people in England and Wales were killed in homicides, the research showed. Of these, 6% had been under the care of mental health services.
A third of the patient victims were killed by other individuals suffering from mental illness.
Professor Louis Appleby from the University of Manchester, who led the study said "Our findings show mental health providers can expect one of their patients to be a homicide victim every two years."
A group of young people from Liverpool who have helped develop a smartphone app designed to help youngsters with mental health issues.
The 'In Hand' app is the first of its kind and has been developed in response to growing concerns over mental health problems among under-18s, with one in ten now thought to be living with a diagnosable condition in the UK.
Hundreds of protestors have been marching through Eccles in protest at cuts to mental health services. Campaigners from Bolton, Salford and Trafford took part in the rally. They're angry at proposals to reduce the number of beds by 20 percent over the next two years.
NHS England say they've been working solidly to ensure high quality care.
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police says his officers are spending more and more time helping vulnerable people with mental health issues.
Sir Peter Fahy says 'it's a scandal' that officers' time is being tied up dealing with people who need psychiatric help.
Meanwhile; the families of people with mental health problems say they're now expected to do the jobs of trained professionals.
NHS England says no funding had been cut for mental health services and that a five year plan is now underway to provide greater support for mental health services.
Health minister Norman Lamb has told ITV News it's unacceptable that mental health loses out within NHS budgets.
He claims there is an institutional bias against mental health.
Sir Peter Fahy says Greater Manchester Police is facing more pressure because of the growing problem of mental health among the public.
He says his officers are stretched enough, and aren't trained to make mental health assessments:
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police says dealing with mental illness has become the number one issue for his front line officers - and the problem is getting worse.
Sir Peter Fahy said "It is a scandal that police officers are tied up and they're not available on the street to serve the public because of huge delays at A & E. Often officers are forced to spend hours waiting with patients at hospitals waiting for consultants to make a decision or find a bed."
Despite his officers not being trained to make mental health assessments Sir Peter told Granada Reports they are being called upon to carry out the roles of professionals and that it is now taking up a huge part of police work.