- Mental health clinicians and police team up to better manage mental health crises
- New approach to improve health outcomes with earlier access to appropriate care
The State Government has further addressed mental health in the community, announcing a two-year trial of mental health and WA Police co-response teams which aim to divert people with mental illness away from the criminal justice system to the health and support networks they need.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said senior mental health clinicians would work alongside frontline police in specially trained teams, tasked with responding to the growing number of calls to police relating to mental health incidents.
"This is a significant issue for the community with police attending more than 17,000 mental health callouts last financial year which was more than three times the number recorded in 2007," she said.
"This collaboration is an important step towards reducing criminal recidivism for people with mental health issues through early intervention and enhanced assessment, treatment and support."
Mrs Harvey said police working alongside mental health professionals to de-escalate incidents would reduce the number of transports to emergency departments and improve officer and community safety.
The State Government has allocated $6.5 million for the trial which has been developed by the Mental Health Commission, WA Police and the WA Department of Health.
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the two mobile co-response teams would co-ordinate a better police response to incidents where people were experiencing acute mental health or drug and alcohol related issues.
"The trial would also include senior mental health clinicians embedded at the Police Operations Centre triaging calls for assistance and another at the Perth Watch House assessing and facilitating access to the right care for detainees," Mrs Morton said.
In preparation for the trial, selected police officers have started specialised training in identifying signs and symptoms requiring mental health and communication and de-escalation techniques.
The mobile teams, comprising a senior mental health clinician and two police officers in unmarked vehicles, will be on call during peak times to attend incidents from January 2016.
- More than 17,498 mental health calls outs this year compared to 4,766 in 2007
- WA Police estimate 70% of 'welfare checks' involve a self-harm incident
- Co-response teams will be trialled in two metropolitan districts: north and south
Police Minister's office - 6552 5900
Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 6900