Boost for mental health support in Fenland

Health and crime leaders have joined forces to boost mental health support for people living in the Fenland area.

Senior representatives from two national support agencies met last week to agree how support services can best work together to help those suffering with mental health problems across Cambridgeshire.

It was jointly hosted by Maureen Donnelly, Chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Sir Graham Bright, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

The meeting was the first since the signing of the Mental Health Concordat last month between the NHS and police.

The Concordat commits signatories to work together to improve the system of care and support for those with mental health problems.

Mr Bright, said: “The aim of the Concordat is for partner agencies to work much more closely together in order to ensure people with mental health problems receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place.

“For the Police this means recognising when an individual has mental health issues and knowing how to deal with them in the most compassionate and appropriate manner. Locking someone up overnight in a cell is not always the most appropriate course of action and can actually set someone back weeks or months. Working more closely with other agencies will enable the police to establish the best action to take for an individual’s wellbeing.”

Ms Donnelly added: “This was a very timely event with excellent attendance from almost all key local organisations who routinely come into contact with people experiencing a mental health crisis.

“It is clear that to ensure prompt access to effective help and support for these people we all need to work in partnership.

“The CCG will work with partners in the coming months to ensure that the momentum generated by this event is maintained.”

A Local Mental Health Crisis Declaration is currently being drafted which will consist of a series of commitments and actions, supported by a shared action plan, which all parties will commit to. This means that organisations will work collaboratively to support those with mental health issues, wherever they come into contact with support agencies.

The declaration will cover not just the effective support of those who are at a point of crisis but also focus on preventing people from getting to the point of crisis and staying well after they have recovered.

The meeting included representatives from the police, NHS trusts, public health, local authorities and social care organisations.