Mental health trusts should liaise with local police forces to educate them on mental health issues (esp use of s136 on young people)
The police have powers under section 136 of the MHA 1983 to detain someone if they are in a public place and are thought to have a mental disorder and are in need of care. If detained under a 136 you should be taken to a "place of safety", which could be anything from A&E to a police cell. This lasts up to 72 hours.
It seems straightforward. The reality is that when a 136 is carried out, officers often aren't sure of the appropriate procedure, things get messy, and people may end up in cells awaiting assessment. This is not right. A physical health emergency would be treated in a setting such as A&E so why aren't MH crises being treated the same?
There should be some form of psycho-education between local MH trusts and local police forces to ensure that the police know what a MH crisis looks like & how to deal with it in a safe and contained way.
This is especially important for vulnerable children and young people who come into contact with the police in a crisis.
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