Centre welcomes Government pledge to change Mental Health Act police powers

20 May 2015

“Changing the Mental Health Act to reduce the use of police custody in an emergency and investing in better places of safety are welcome steps towards better crisis care for people with mental health problems,” Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan said today.

Responding to the Home Secretary’s speech today to the Police Federation, Sean Duggan said: “We know that being detained by the police in a mental health crisis can be a frightening experience for many people at a time they are at their most vulnerable. Investing in places of safety that are appropriate for both children and adults is vital to give an alternative to the use of police cells. It will be essential, however, for these units to be properly staffed and for police officers to know how to use them.

“It is also essential that we invest in community mental health support for people of all ages, where possible preventing crises from happening and supporting recovery for people who have experienced a crisis. Both children’s and adults’ mental health services have experienced damaging cuts in funding in recent years. Investing in earlier and more effective mental health care is key to preventing crises whenever possible and to responding effectively and respectfully when a person needs urgent care.”

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