Mental Health Awareness - Street Triage Video

To mark mental health awareness week during May, we have updated the 101 hold message to share our commitments to ensuring the vulnerable receive the right care when coming into contact with policing services.

May 2015 - 101 Hold Message:

Assistant Chief Constable - David Lewis

Every year during the second week of May, the Mental Health Foundation raises awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues.

Since 2000 Mental Health Awareness week has helped to generate public debates around how anxiety, sleep deprivation and exercise can impact our mental health.

Mental health affects us all. How we think and feel about ourselves and our lives impacts our behaviour and how we cope through times of stress. It affects our ability to make the most of the opportunities that come our way and play a full part in our family, workplace, community and friends.

Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to more serious long-term conditions. The majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.

Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us.

There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 6 people will have a mental health issue at any one time which in Dorset means around 130,000 people.

Police and Crime Commissioner - Martyn Underhill

Thanks David, here in Dorset we have been running a Mental Health Street Triage scheme since June last year, which is funded by my office and various partners including Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and local authorities.   This scheme is designed to assist police officers by giving officers as much information and advice as possible when they are called to people in crisis across the County. Where appropriate it provides access to community-based services, thereby ensuring that individual health and social care needs are known and provided for by appropriate services. Essentially it keeps people in crisis out of police custody suites, something the Chief Constable and I are determined to prevent.

We’ve produced a short video so you can see how the scheme works.  To watch the video visit my website at and follow the link from the homepage.

As a weekend only service, there were 185 people referred to the scheme during February this year alone.  In March, the triage scheme increased from 3 to 7 evenings a week where it now operates between the hours of seven PM and three AM – to ensure care for the vulnerable is available out of hours.

As well as this, Dorset runs a Liaison and Diversion service, which is designed to assess and/or divert those that are mentally ill from criminalisation. This scheme has mental health practitioners in our two custody suites. So, by combining both services, we have mental health practitioners available within custody suites during the day and the triage support for evenings and nights, meaning officers will have access to specialist mental health support almost 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

In addition, all frontline staff will also be receiving training in how best to interact with those suffering a mental health crisis in the next few weeks.

As your PCC, I have always said that those people experiencing mental health issues deserve the right care, at the right time, in the right place. And often that means health based settings not police stations. Thanks for listening.

Assistant Chief Constable - David Lewis

You can help keep yourself in good mental health by:

  • Talking about your feelings
  • Keeping Active
  • Eating Well
  • Drinking sensibly
  • Keeping in touch with friends, family and loved ones
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Taking a break
  • Doing something you’re good at and enjoy
  • Accepting who you are
  • Caring for others

For more information about all aspects of Mental Health, please visit the Mental Health Foundation’s website at

And together we can help raise awareness of mental health, help people survive, recover from and prevent mental health problems as well as reduce the stigma associated with them.

Listen to the full message here

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