Are the police and criminal justice service providing the right support for people with mental illness? This is the question being asked by the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner as he launches his Time2Listen mental health consultation today.
Stephen Mold, Police and Crime Commissioner has launched Time2Listen to coincide with World Mental Health Day (today, Tuesday 10th October). The consultation is now live at www.time2listennorthants.co.uk – and is focussed on gaining a better understanding of the experience of people with mental illness, ADHD and Autism – and their interactions with the police and criminal justice service in Northamptonshire.
Northamptonshire Police spends more than twenty percent of its time supporting victims of crime and detainees with mental health needs. Over the next three months, the commissioner wants to hear from local people to get a true picture of how effective the police and the criminal justice services are in supporting people with mental illness and what can be done to improve those interactions.
Stephen Mold said: “This is a really important consultation. One in four people experience mental illness, and while many have little or no contact with the police, it’s vital we take the time to listen and find out if individuals with mental ill health who are in contact – be it through their neighbourhood, as a victim or witness, or someone who has been involved in crime – are receiving the right support from the police and from the wider criminal justice system.
“We know there are some people who don’t receive the right help and fall through the gaps, and others who actually require help from health and social care agencies rather than the police. We must make sure people can access the support they need.
“A high level of police demand is linked to mental health related incidents, and a significant proportion of the offending population experience poor mental health, so this is an area that really deserves a focus. It’s important we identify mental health issues among victims, suspects and offenders at an early stage, so the right support is provided throughout the criminal justice process.
“Through this consultation I want to hear from as many people as possible – we know there are lots of people with mental illness, ADHD and Autism that have had a very positive experience and received really good support, but similarly we know that for others this was definitely not the case.
“Hearing about people’s different experiences will not only improve the situation for individuals but will also help the police and other organisations to develop their services and be more effective. We need to provide people with the right support, in the right environment and from the right organisations.
“I urge people to get involved in the Time2Listen consultation and share their stories with us. This is a real opportunity to learn from people’s experiences.”
The Time2Listen consultation is taking place over the next three to six months and will hear from people via face to face interviews, telephone conversations, focus groups, workshops and by an online survey. The consultation is also open to parents, carers and loved ones of those with mental illnesses, ADHD and Autism.
The consultation is being led by Helen Cook, Head of Involvement and Communications at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. She said: “As well as speaking to people with experience of mental illness, Time2Listen will also consult with professionals and support agencies working within the criminal justice system, such as police officers, probation officers and mental health workers.
“It’s important to not only capture the views and experiences of victims, witnesses and people who have been involved in crime but from professionals too. We want to capture their feedback – both positive and negative on the effectiveness of current practices and discuss any potential barriers to improving services for people with mental illness, ADHD and Autism.“
The outcomes and any recommendations from the consultation will be shared with the Northamptonshire Mental Health Criminal Justice Board.
For more information about the Time2Listen consultation visit: www.time2listennorthants.co.uk