PCCs backs Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Merseyside / May 14

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week by a hosting two events aimed at increasing awareness and improving the attention vulnerable people receive in times of crisis.

Mental Health Awareness Week is held every year to remind us that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetime. The theme for this year’s awareness week, which runs from May 14th to 20th, is stress, and the role it plays in causing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Jane Kennedy and Cllr Emily Spurrell are backing the national awareness week by hosting a major seminar aimed at better equipping frontline responders to help people who are experiencing mental ill health.

This is the ninth specialist seminar hosted by the Commissioner aimed at increasing the awareness and skills among police officers, PCSOs, staff and other bluelight responders of specific conditions and disorders. This event will focus on psychosis and is being run in partnership with MerseyCare NHS Foundation Trust.

A total of 160 ‘bluelight responders’ from more than 40 organisations, including Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, as well as representatives from the region’s five local authorities, the prison and probation service and drug and alcohol services are due to attend the event at Merseyside Police Headquarters on Wednesday 16th May.

It will be led by MerseyCare’s Early Intervention Team’s Dr Jo Gorry and Dr John Stevens who will talk about the causes, symptoms and treatment for psychosis, as well as highlighting what should be considered when dealing with someone with the condition.

To mark the awareness week, the Commissioner is also holding a special meeting of her Youth Advisory Group which will focus on mental ill health. Members of the advisory group, who are aged from 16 to 25, will hear from Merseyside Police’s dedicated mental health liaison officer, Detective Constable Hayley Sherwen, on the Force’s triage car service. The service provides for an officer and psychiatric nurse to work together to provide an on-the-spot assessment and advice to an individual who may be in mental health crisis.

They will also hear from one of MerseyCare’s mental health nurses who works within Merseyside Police’s custody suites to assess those who are detained and provide care and referrals when required.

During the week, the Commissioner will also meet Merseyside Police’s leads on mental health to get an update on their work and, in particular, to be briefed on, ‘Synergy’, a new project aimed at supporting those with mental health issues.

Jane said: “Mental health is everyone’s business and sadly, more than a quarter of calls to Merseyside Police have mental health issues related to them.

“Police officers are often the first to respond to a call for help and that's why it is important they are trained in the best ways of providing care and support for people who may be at their lowest ebb.

“Through these specialist seminars delivered by experts in the field, my aim is to better equip those on the frontline with the knowledge and skills to identify the conditions or illness an individual may be experiencing and give them the tools to help that person in their moment of need. I’m very grateful to MerseyCare for supporting this event. It is another example of how we are working together to ensure people experiencing mental ill health are given the best possible care and support.”

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 here.