A new approach is being trialled across North East Lincolnshire that could help reduce unnecessary deployment of ambulances and pressure on emergency services.
The new mental health response vehicle, known as the Joint Response Vehicle, is being launched by NAViGO.
Crewed by our trained clinicians and support workers, the vehicle will respond to calls where there is a mental health concern providing alternative transport to an ambulance or police car for people who may need help with their emotional health.
Partnership funded, the service also aims to reduce hospital attendance by supporting the police in assessing mental health needs on site in the community and delivering care at home-based crisis incidents.
NAViGO project lead Vicky Ayres, who has led on the launch of the service said: “We’re really pleased to be launching a response service that is specifically dedicated to supporting people in a mental health crisis and strengthens our partnership working across the emergency services.
“Not only does it help reduce demand on the ambulance service, but it means we can provide timely support and delivery of care in the right environment at the right time.
“A busy A&E department might not be the best place for someone in a mental health crisis to be transported to; this new service enables our specialist staff to quickly provide support to people at home or in the community while ensuring they get the follow-up care they need.”
It is also hoped that the service will where appropriate proactively prevent people being detained under the Mental Health Act.
Police have powers under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act to take immediate control of someone who is deemed to be a high risk to themselves or others.
Vicky added: “Detention is not always helpful or necessary for someone in crisis. This approach enables us to better understand the needs of the individual and provide support at that moment.”
Best care possible
Humberside Police mental health operations manager John Thirkettle said: “Humberside Police are thrilled to be part of this new scheme to support people in the community with their mental health.
“Being able to call on specialist staff to support our officers at the scene will ensure people receive the best care possible. The availability of a dedicated vehicle will also ensure that people do not need to be transported in a police vehicle which we know can increase their anxiety and stress. We look forward to working closely with NAViGO and our other partners to support people in our communities.”
In addition, the service will provide support with transporting inpatients between sites.
The pilot will initially run for one year.
The service can be accessed by individuals experiencing a mental health crisis as well as police officers, ambulance or rapid response crew, carers, family members who believe someone is experiencing a mental health crisis by telephoning (01472) 256256 option 3, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.