Just read a review post about the police and the mental health crisis, and it bought me back. This paragraph about the AWOL patient, especially caught my eye:
“They had re-detained an AWOL patient in their area, who was missing from a hospital in our area.
The NHS were unable to offer a solution which returned the patient to the hospital from which he was absent – a duty which sits with them, under the Code of Practice to the MHA. … It was quicker for the other force to just blast the person up the motorway in a police car and get it sorted ”
-via Painting the Forth Bridge
From working on frontline mental health services, I remember there were never enough staff. On an ordinary day we were short, at our limit. In a crisis? No way did we have staff to spare to fetch a missing patient, or someone from hospital. That’s without mentioning the staff who had access to a vehicle!
Police were treated like an infinite line of defense, along with ambulance services. It’s not surprising that they can’t keep doing this anymore. Private mental health companies are propped up by strained public services, while they and their shareholders profit.
Public services can’t say no, but it doesn’t mean they are infinitely resourced.
Just a reminder that this is still a huge problem, and we can’t stop trying to fix it yet.