Police in Cumbria deal with rise in mental health incidents.
Demand increase: Supt Dan St Quintin
POLICE in Cumbria have dealt with an above-average rise in the number of incidents involving people with mental health conditions over the past five years.
Figures show Cumbria Constabulary dealt with 4,571 incidents where mental health was a factor in 2019, up from 3,206 in 2015 – a 43 per cent rise.
While numbers have come down since 2018, when officers responded to 5,226 mental health-related incidents, the rise in incidents in Cumbria remains higher than the 41 per cent England average for the same five-year period.
Temporary Superintendent Dan St Quintin said: “We have seen a continued increase in the number of calls for service in which people are in crisis and are potentially harmful to themselves or others.
“These are often complex and difficult situations, but we work with, and alongside our partners in health to make sure those people get the support they need.
“As a force, our priority is to keep people safe.
“We have dedicated mental health officers in each of the territorial policing areas who lead on our response to incidents involving mental health.
“We are continuing to work with our partners to address and understand the demand.”
More than half of England’s 41 police forces released the data to the digital health care platform Visiba under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).
A police incident can be classed as mental health-related for a range of reasons, from responding to someone in a mental health crisis to a suspect with a mental health issue.
The analysis shows that the NHS has spent more than £1bn in the past five years on patients hospitalised with mental health conditions classified as mood affective disorders, including bipolar affective disorder and depression. On average these patients spend 37 days in the hospital.
Recently published figures from the Royal College of Psychiatrists show a “looming crisis” where two-fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment are contacting emergency or crisis services, with 11 per cent ending up in A&E.
Tina Marshall, Visiba UK country manager, said: “A mental health crisis is fast approaching, and as these figures, show both the police and secondary healthcare are under enormous strain.
“Meeting the needs of patients earlier on in their mental health journey using digital solutions could play a huge role in relieving pressures on the police and hospitals at a later stage.”
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