Mental Health Street Triage trial expansion through additional vehicle
Main article content
Bedfordshire Police is expanding its successful Mental Health Street Triage (MHST) project, to help combat winter pressures.
From Tuesday (1 November) a second MHST vehicle, comprising of a mental health professional and a police officer, will attend immediate mental health crisis incidents across Bedfordshire that have been reported to the force control room as part of a three-month pilot project.
The MHST team was initially launched in 2016 and focuses on providing positive outcomes for people in crises which will allow patrol officers to attend other incidents during the most resource intensive months. It sees police officers responded to calls jointly with a paramedic and mental health professional. The team has since diverted thousands of police and ambulance call outs, avoiding the need for people to be detained under the Mental Health Act or attend A&E.
The new vehicle will work from 1pm until 11pm alongside the existing car. Working together the two teams will provide wider geographical coverage across the county, meaning quicker response times.
A commissioning process is currently on-going, aiming to achieve 24/7 coverage in the future.
Sergeant Chloe Lloyd-Jones from the Mental Health Street Triage Team said: “This year, so far, the MHST team have dealt with 1,224 incidents and have prevented 178 Section 136 detentions and 461 emergency department attendances.
“With our specialist team and less restrictive interventions, as well as better use of resources, we will provide better outcomes for those experiencing a mental health crisis and reduce pressures on our emergency services and NHS.
“We know that the winter can be a difficult time for many people, as well as it being a time when our NHS is particularly stretched, so we’re really pleased to be able to launch this additional vehicle over the winter months.”
East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) provides mental health care across the county and is the force's mental health and MHST partner.
"The addition of a second MHST vehicle means we can provide timely, effective and appropriate support for more people across Bedfordshire experiencing a mental health crisis," said Maxine Obeng, Assistant Director for ELFT's Bedfordshire and Luton Crisis Pathway.
The Bedfordshire Police force control room also has a dedicated mental health desk, which launched in 2019, staffed by fully trained nurses. They provide advice to both call handlers and police officers who may be dealing with someone suffering from a mental health crisis.
The mental health nurses also work closely with partners across the county, to ensure that appropriate support is given to the person and are available to provide checks and support during missing person investigations.