Children and young people with mental health problems need care and support – not a police cell, says Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tony Lloyd was speaking in response to a report published by the Health Select Committee that says there are ‘serious and deeply ingrained problems’ with child and adolescent mental health services.
As well as concerns about cuts to early intervention funding, major problems accessing inpatient services and referral waiting times, the Committee highlights concerns about children and young people being taken to police stations instead of hospital.
“It’s shocking to hear that children and young people suffering a mental health crisis end up in the hands of police instead of getting the care they need in hospital,” said Tony. “This is unacceptable and I support the Health Select Committee in calling on the Department of Health to urgently address this to make sure it can no longer happen.
“I’ve been assured that the good working relationship between Greater Manchester Police and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) means that children and young people who come into custody are quickly assessed and admitted to hospital if needed. However, I will be raising the concerns in this report with the Chief Constable to ensure our vulnerable children and young people are getting the best care.”
Tony is pioneering work across Greater Manchester to bring together police, health, councils and other agencies to pool resources and improve how vulnerable people are treated. This includes places of safety for people suffering a mental health crisis and a mental health triage scheme which provides police officers with 24-hour telephone access to a mental health professional.
“We have made great strides in Greater Manchester to improve care for people suffering mental health crises but there is still some way to go to ensure vulnerable members of our community get the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” adds Tony.