Merseyside Police and the Police Commissioner are supporting this year's World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10 October 2017).
The force recognises how important it is to talk about mental health issues and to recognise the signs, both in ourselves and in others, and most importantly know what to do about it.
The Liverpool Mental Health Festival, which includes World Mental Health Day, is now in its eight year and was set up with the aim of reducing stigma and improving access to mental health services in Liverpool. It includes a host of free events being held from 1st to 14th October including workshops, an open mic night, a theatrical production and festival in Williamson Square.
Police officers and staff from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner staffed a stall at the festival on Saturday, 7 October.
Merseyside Police has also, through the mental health charity Mind, signed up to the Blue Light Services ‘Time to Change Pledge’. The pledge demonstrates the force’s commitment to help look after our own staff and our customers who are experiencing poor mental health.
Detective Superintendent Richie Salter, force lead for mental health said: "Mental health is everyone’s business and as a police force we have a duty to the public to ensure our officers are able to provide the best possible service to those suffering from mental health issues.
"Our officers frequently come into contact with people who may have mental health issues – the safety and wellbeing of people believed to have mental health issues is paramount, and we need to continue to work together to continue to improve the way we respond to the most vulnerable in society.
"As well as employing a Mental Health Liaison officer, Merseyside Police, in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, have Mental Health Investigators based within mental health hospitals covering the County of Merseyside. As well as working on cases, the officers work with the medical staff to provide support to vulnerable patients in the community.
"The force also has three triage cars, all staffed by a police officer and a mental health practitioner, which attend incidents where victims or offenders have mental health issues, to assess any needs and ensure they are dealt with appropriately, which could involve being directed towards support services."
Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Councillor Emily Spurrell visited the force's mental health staff to hear more about their work.
Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "When police officers encounter people whose mental illness or condition is causing challenging behaviour, contravening the law, putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk, we need a response that recognises the illness for what it is.
"I recently met the joint teams of police officers and mental health professionals who provide exactly that response. They make an early assessment of the mental health of the person at the centre of the incident and determine where they should best be cared for.
"It’s partnership working at its best and I'm proud of what they are doing."
Det Supt Richie Salter added: "We are committed to helping our own officers and staff wherever we can by supporting them in this important area.
"Our own police officers and staff work in difficult, challenging and often distressing situations and it is important to be able to talk about and recognise the signs of mental health symptoms, both in ourselves and in others."