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Cops give mental health help

February 10th 2014

Homeless people struggling with a combination of poor mental health and trouble with the law could be helped by a new scheme which will place psychiatric nurses in police stations.

The pilot scheme, which aims to cut reoffending and help people get access to treatment, will mean that people will be assessed for mental health, substance misuse and learning disability support needs when they come into contact with the police and the court system.

Ten areas of England – including Dorset, Merseyside and Sussex – will trial the scheme, and if the approach is successful, it will be extended across the country by 2017, the Department of Health said.

Homeless people face a disproportionately high rate of mental illness and contact with the police. As many as 70 per cent of homeless people have mental health needs, according to a 2011 study by Homeless Link. Meanwhile, 15 per cent of people in prison reported being homeless before they were put in custody, according to a 2012 government survey, whereas only three and a half per cent of the general population reported ever being homeless.

Norman Lamb, the care services minister, said people with mental health issues who enter the criminal justice system are too often diagnosed only when they reach prison.

“We want to help them get the right support and treatment as early as possible. Diverting the individual away from offending and helping to reduce the risk of more victims suffering due to further offences benefits everyone,” said Lamb.

Mental health campaigners also welcomed the move.


February 2014



Pavement change

Glasgow’s homeless turned away

Cops give mental health help

Scot grants help homeless

‘Disappeared’ families failed

Eastern Europeans give a ‘Lift’

Charities meet in merger

Woman ‘close to death’

Supertramp hits Berlin

Bus shelters homeless


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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484