Today, the Home Office has announced a series of changes that will substantially reduce the amount of time spent by police forces in England and Wales responding to support those in a mental health crisis. 

Responding on behalf of Mental Health Matters, Jane Hughes, CEO said, “Whilst we support the principle of having trained mental health professionals supporting those in crisis, it is clear that this partnership requires system-wide changes, and we await to see the Government’s plans to deliver them.  

The alterations to how the police respond to mental health calls will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on mental health services. The reforms require a comprehensive plan that includes additional investment in mental health services, workforce development, and system-wide training, individuals struggling with their mental health may be put at risk and we are hopeful the plans announced today will be inclusive of this.  

As a nationwide provider of crisis services, it is crucial that guidance is issued for the individual police forces who will be responsible for the transition process. In addition to the need for additional resource, consideration should be given to educating the public on how to access urgent support when calls to emergency services are discouraged. 

Whilst police forces will have to be thoughtful of their obligations under Sections 135. And 136. of the Mental Health Act, clarity around how they will continue to fulfill these duties under the new partnership agreement would be welcomed. 

At Mental Health Matters, we firmly believe in the principles of the ‘No Wrong Door’ approach, which emphasises enabling people to access appropriate mental health support, regardless of where they initially seek help. We are concerned that these changes could set back that vision.” 

Mental Health Matters will continue to monitor these developments and provide comment as this develops.