The Time 2 Listen consultation, believed to be the first of its kind ever held in Northamptonshire, heard from 1,200 people in the county who have either mental illness, autism or ADHD, as well as more than 260 professionals working in health, policing, criminal justice and the voluntary sector.

The consultation aimed to understand their experiences in order to recommend improvements to service provision.

People with a mental health concern are much more likely to come into contact with the police, either as victims or offenders. It is estimated that at least 20% of all incidents dealt with by Northamptonshire Police each year are related in some way to mental health, although the real figure may be much higher. Up to 90 per cent of people in prison and two-fifths of people on community sentences have some sort of mental health concern.

The results of this major consultation revealed that people feel that services do not work together: that there are gaps in the support available and an inconsistent approach between organisations.

The Time 2 Listen report contains 34 recommendations for criminal justice and health agencies, along with an action plan to implement them through two existing, multi-agency groups – the Mental Health Transformation Board Steering Group and the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Board.

These recommendations include:

  • Consistency of approach across all service providers so that people know that what to expect and that services are of uniformly high quality
  • Developing a shared vision across the criminal justice and health systems, with joint commissioning of services such out-of-hours support
  • Shared training of professionals to ensure high-quality services and awareness of each other’s roles and responsibilities

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, said:

“Mental health concerns are a major factor driving demand for policing services and I wanted to understand how it feels for a vulnerable person – whether they have mental illness, Autism or ADHD – when they come into contact with our services.

“Some of the testimony from people we spoke to was extremely hard to hear. This has shown me that we have a lot of work to do so that vulnerable people receive the proper support. We also have to make sure that professionals understand each other’s role and are better co-ordinated across all the agencies to reduce the impact of mental health concerns on services. And professionals need better support too.

“My role is to ensure the voice of the people is heard in policing: we asked people to talk to us and now have to act on what we have heard. The publication of the Time 2 Listen report and the action plan that flows from it are a serious commitment to make things better. Agencies must develop a really effective partnership around this issue and I am committed to taking the recommendations of this report forward.”

Read the full news release featuring the thoughts of the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Simon Edens, and Gordon King, Deputy Director of Adult Mental Health and Specialty Services at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT)

Time 2 Listen creative competition

As part of our engagement with young people around Time 2 Listen, we invited them to submit pieces of artwork and poetry as part of a competition – some of this is featured in our reports, while others appear in our gallery, here.