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Spotlight on mental health

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, and it’s a subject that is always high on the agenda for us, not least because officers encounter vulnerable people on an almost daily basis, but also because we believe that all our staff and officers need to be aware of their own vulnerabilities.

According to Mind, the mental health charity, one in four people is likely to experience a mental health problem.

We have used this Mental Health Awareness week to start conversations that can change, or even save, lives, and highlight the support that is available for our staff and officers, as we need to look after ourselves to be in the best shape possible to look after everyone else.

In recognition that mental health plays a large part in some of the issues faced in our communities, we have had a Mental Health Street Triage team in place since 2016.

The Mental Health Street Triage is a partnership between Bedfordshire Police, East of England Ambulance Trust, East London NHS Foundation Trust, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Luton Clinical Commissioning Group, MIND and The Samaritans.

The scheme, which aims to improve the experience and outcomes for people in mental health crisis, sees a police officer, a paramedic and a mental health professional in one car, responding to mental health crisis calls 365 days a year. This service covers the whole county, operating from 3pm – 1am, with bases at police headquarters in Kempston and at Luton Police Station.

Superintendent Jaki Whittred, the force lead for mental health, said: “We all need to be more open about our mental health, to ensure the stigma and myths surrounding it are dispelled, and seek, or provide the most appropriate service according to individual needs.

“We have a duty to safeguard vulnerable people experiencing mental health crisis. By working in partnership and having the right professionals working together at the point of decision making, we will be better able to deliver the right outcome for the individual.

“Mental health is everyone’s business, and this week we have taken the opportunity to remind everyone that it’s OK not to be OK.”

For further information about mental health, or to seek help, visit Mind.

 

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