Mental health workers to deploy with police

johnboy 3 June 2011 63

ACT Policing and ACT Government Health today launched a world-first trial embedding mental health clinicians within an operational policing environment.

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Roman Quaedvlieg and Ms Katrina Bracher from ACT Government Health officially launched the Mental Health Community Policing Initiative at the Winchester Police Centre with Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

Chief Police Officer Quaedvlieg said the initiative is a world-first approach for police in recognising, relating and responding to people living with a mental health illness.

“We have reviewed and researched a number of models from around the world. This approach of embedding clinicians within our ACT Policing Operations centre has never been tested before. Clinicians provide direct support to police on the r-oad during peak periods,” he said.

The launch of the trial of the mental health clinicians allows ACT Policing members to have mental health expertise at their finger-tips.

“The clinicians provide expert advice and arrange for specialist assistance to officers in the field, allowing police to better assess a situation or individual who may be living with a mental illness — ultimately, allowing for more informed decision making and outcomes — a better outcome for police, a better outcome for the individual, and a better outcome for the community.”

Clinicians have been working in ACT Policing Operations (radio communications) for two months and have already received more than 170 calls for assistance.

The inaugural mental health training course, based on the proven NSW Police Force training package, will begin next week (Tuesday, June 7). All sworn police officers will undertake the training.

“While mental illness is a health issue and often not a law enforcement matter, we, as police, have a moral obligation to support those in our community who may have a mental illness,” Chief Police Officer Quaedvlieg said.

[Courtesy ACT Policing]


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Tooks Tooks 1:01 pm 19 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

Totally agree that MH crisis should be dealt with by a team of trained MH crisis workers (I thought this was what CATT was set up for) rather than Police.

The thing is, as a family member, of an adult person with an illness, you get told to call Police if you disclose something that’s considered a Police matter, or to arrange rehab if it’s considered an A & D matter. CATT passed the buck again this morning. It’s far from a holistic approach. I felt uncomfortable even asking to speak with the Liaison officer and was happy to leave the info with someone I felt I could trust (definitely not Colin). Oh well, I’ll just sit back and wait for another terrible phone call from Police.

For those, who think I’m claiming expertise by saying I study certain things. I’m not claiming expertise. I study. There’s a difference. Take a moment to think about what you would do if your child/loved one had diabetes, cancer or something similar. Would you not try and educate yourself about the illness? Would you want the most humane, quality treatment for your child/loved one and explore best practice models? Would you not advocate strongly for them?

Yeah you would.

It may surprise you Violet, but I agree with many of the comments you’ve made on this site and I genuinely hope you don’t get that terrible phone call any time soon.

Tooks Tooks 12:55 pm 19 Jun 11

I choose to “whinge” on RiotAct because it may raise awareness about a system that is clearly failing.

Why not start your own post on the failing system instead of just chiming in on different posts? I think most people know the system is failing, so a post detailing some of your experiences (with less emotion/blaming and more facts) would be an interesting read. I’d be genuinely interested in your ideas on what can be done to improve the current system.

Comments like yours also assist with gathering info for my papers on things like mental health policy and just how entrenched stigma is.

How do any of my comments assist you with that? I’ve dealt with mentally ill people many times and have a close family member with serious mental illness, as well as a number of friends over the years. If you want to talk about stigma with regards to mental illness, you’re talking to the wrong person.

I did call MHCT “like everyone else”. Apparently, CMH are now responsible and will be back at work on Monday so we’ll all just stop this silliness till then shall we? I will be damned if I do and damned if I don’t so would prefer to keep prodding at whoever I possibly can within the “system” to take some “action” and prevent things from becoming worse.

I thought you called police to prevent harm (see next quote in italics). Now you’re saying CMH will get back to you Monday. I’m a bit confused.

As far as I’m concerned, trying to prevent harm is not a waste of an operators time.

If you’re calling police to try to prevent harm and you’re asking to speak with MH liaison, then I could interpret that as wasting time, but not knowing the details, I’ll leave it at that.

Good luck with MH on Monday.

Violet68 Violet68 3:00 pm 18 Jun 11

Totally agree that MH crisis should be dealt with by a team of trained MH crisis workers (I thought this was what CATT was set up for) rather than Police.

The thing is, as a family member, of an adult person with an illness, you get told to call Police if you disclose something that’s considered a Police matter, or to arrange rehab if it’s considered an A & D matter. CATT passed the buck again this morning. It’s far from a holistic approach. I felt uncomfortable even asking to speak with the Liaison officer and was happy to leave the info with someone I felt I could trust (definitely not Colin). Oh well, I’ll just sit back and wait for another terrible phone call from Police.

For those, who think I’m claiming expertise by saying I study certain things. I’m not claiming expertise. I study. There’s a difference. Take a moment to think about what you would do if your child/loved one had diabetes, cancer or something similar. Would you not try and educate yourself about the illness? Would you want the most humane, quality treatment for your child/loved one and explore best practice models? Would you not advocate strongly for them?

Yeah you would.

Violet68 Violet68 1:54 pm 18 Jun 11

I’m betting Colin isn’t a police officer. And as usual, you choose to whinge on Riotact instead of bringing this guy’s apparent ‘customer service’ issues to the attention of someone who can actually act on it.

BTW, why would you contact the mental health liaison people via police? They are there primarily to assist police with advice relating to mental illness they encounter on the road. So stop wasting the operator’s time with your ill-directed queries and call MHCT like everyone else.

I didn’t say Colin is a Police Officer. I don’t know who the hell he is. I was put through to him and asked to pass on information that is difficult to talk about and to entrust to anyone let alone an arrogant contemptuous person on the other end of a phone. I didn’t want or need to take up the liaison officer’s time. Don’t worry I will follow up on his “customer service”.

I choose to “whinge” on RiotAct because it may raise awareness about a system that is clearly failing. Comments like yours also assist with gathering info for my papers on things like mental health policy and just how entrenched stigma is.

I did call MHCT “like everyone else”. Apparently, CMH are now responsible and will be back at work on Monday so we’ll all just stop this silliness till then shall we? I will be damned if I do and damned if I don’t so would prefer to keep prodding at whoever I possibly can within the “system” to take some “action” and prevent things from becoming worse.

As far as I’m concerned, trying to prevent harm is not a waste of an operators time.

Spideydog Spideydog 1:39 pm 18 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

These last few weeks have been the usual “pass the buck” kind of thing. I get told to call this one and that one………Apparently City Mental Health are on the job…..but they don’t work weekends or after 5pm….so please call such and such. It appears that you can only be unwell during business hours.

In this respect I totally agree with you, MH should be a 24/7 service. So after hours, they say MH is no longer a health issue, it defaults to a Policing issue – WRONG. Would love to see how the general health system went if that was the case.

In my opinion, I strongly think that MHCT should be appropriately trained, equipped and respond to MH incidents, not Police. (obviously if the need arises, Police attend with MH).

If MH told you to call them, then fine, but I still don’t think that is what it was designed for, but is not your fault if they told you to call them.

Violet68 Violet68 12:55 pm 18 Jun 11

Spideydog said :

Violet68 said :

Just rang ACT Police and was told by a really helpful woman that MH Liaison Officer would be on duty at 2.30pm today. Then I was asked to leave further details and put through to “Colin” who less than kindly told me he didn’t even know if the MH Liason Officer would be in today….it was just on a trial basis…..and if I had a mental health issue to call MH blah blah blah. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t give a s***. How is this program going to work with call screening like that?

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

Why are you trying to call the MH liaison officer direct at Police communications? I was under the impression that the liaison officer was to assist Police directly and was not a contact point for the general public, correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t that what the MHCT or general MH etc are for? Once again correct me if I’m wrong, but I would have thought the liaison officer was better used directly assisting police and not taking calls from the public. That is probably why the call was screened?

I was advised to do so by MH. I won’t go into the reasons for the call here. No, I don’t think you are wrong about the liaison officer working with Police rather than the public. The first person I spoke to during my call was more than helpful and has taken my details. We’ll see if they call back. I won’t be complaining if they don’t, as I realise they will probably be busy assisting Police. I do think it’s important that the liaison officer has as much information as possible though (which could have been passed on by “our Colin”). It was Colin’s attitude that worries me.

These last few weeks have been the usual “pass the buck” kind of thing. I get told to call this one and that one………Apparently City Mental Health are on the job…..but they don’t work weekends or after 5pm….so please call such and such. It appears that you can only be unwell during business hours.

Tooks Tooks 12:53 pm 18 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

Tooks said :

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

If you take the blinkers off, Violet, you’ll find the vast majority are like that.

Interesting that you ignore the comment about “Colin” and instantly jump to the praise part. And you accuse me of wearing blinkers.

I’m betting Colin isn’t a police officer. And as usual, you choose to whinge on Riotact instead of bringing this guy’s apparent ‘customer service’ issues to the attention of someone who can actually act on it.

BTW, why would you contact the mental health liaison people via police? They are there primarily to assist police with advice relating to mental illness they encounter on the road. So stop wasting the operator’s time with your ill-directed queries and call MHCT like everyone else.

Spideydog Spideydog 12:30 pm 18 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

Just rang ACT Police and was told by a really helpful woman that MH Liaison Officer would be on duty at 2.30pm today. Then I was asked to leave further details and put through to “Colin” who less than kindly told me he didn’t even know if the MH Liason Officer would be in today….it was just on a trial basis…..and if I had a mental health issue to call MH blah blah blah. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t give a s***. How is this program going to work with call screening like that?

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

Why are you trying to call the MH liaison officer direct at Police communications? I was under the impression that the liaison officer was to assist Police directly and was not a contact point for the general public, correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t that what the MHCT or general MH etc are for? Once again correct me if I’m wrong, but I would have thought the liaison officer was better used directly assisting police and not taking calls from the public. That is probably why the call was screened?

Violet68 Violet68 12:10 pm 18 Jun 11

Tooks said :

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

If you take the blinkers off, Violet, you’ll find the vast majority are like that.

Interesting that you ignore the comment about “Colin” and instantly jump to the praise part. And you accuse me of wearing blinkers.

Violet68 Violet68 12:07 pm 18 Jun 11

Tooks said :

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

If you take the blinkers off, Violet, you’ll find the vast majority are like that.

Interesting that you have no comment about “Colin” and instantly jump to the praise part. And you accuse me of having blinkers on.

Tooks Tooks 12:01 pm 18 Jun 11

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

If you take the blinkers off, Violet, you’ll find the vast majority are like that.

Violet68 Violet68 11:40 am 18 Jun 11

Just rang ACT Police and was told by a really helpful woman that MH Liaison Officer would be on duty at 2.30pm today. Then I was asked to leave further details and put through to “Colin” who less than kindly told me he didn’t even know if the MH Liason Officer would be in today….it was just on a trial basis…..and if I had a mental health issue to call MH blah blah blah. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t give a s***. How is this program going to work with call screening like that?

On the other hand, I would like to acknowledge the Officers that have been in contact with our family over the last few weeks and say thankyou publicly. You’ve certainly shown me there are Officers out there who do a difficult job well and with “heart”.

Violet68 Violet68 9:25 pm 16 Jun 11

It is very difficult from information posted here to determine what illness your son is suffering from, but many families get confused between mental illness and the lifestyle choice to abuse drugs, some of which cause symptoms such as paranoia.

MHW

I doubt that many families confuse the issue at all. As co-occurring disorders are extremely common, it would be really helpful if MHW’s and A & D workers would stop all the argy bargy about who is responsible for caring for people with dual diagnosis ie. the no wrong door approach (which has supposedly been adopted by ACT Mental Health http://www.health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=sendfile&ft=p&fid=1289536111&sid= )

Which occurs first? The mental illness or the drug use? Some people use illicit drugs to counteract negative symptoms like social withdrawal and anxiety, auditory hallucinations and delusions and/or to combat the side effects of their prescribed medication. So sad that families have to deal with MHW’s who refuse to apply a holistic approach. You are correct, you don’t have the expertise or right to diagnose via the RiotAct.

“It’s no sign of mental health to be well adjusted to an insane world” The Dalai Lama

Mental Health Worker Mental Health Worker 7:58 pm 07 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

If the police are called, then there’s a fair chance that knives, or some other means of harming oneself or others, are involved. Otherwise no-one would have called the cops.

MHW

Really? We have had several occasions where Police were involved (family called CATT not Police) in admission when there were no knives or weapons involved…..

Oh well what would I know? I just make stuff like this up for shits n giggles.

Did say “in very case”? No I did not. My comment was intended to show that the situations you are alluding to are not the “everyday” experience of people with a mental illness, so they do not stigmatise people with mental illnesses as a whole. The police are called first to a minority of mental health crises, and to a minority of people with mental illnesses.

So here’s the reality – Mental Health Workers no longer drive around in white vans, with white coats, tranquilliser guns and strait jackets. They do not have the power, nor the training nor the tools, to detain someone. Some of them, and all doctors (including GPs who like to flick this unpalatable task to someone else, in the interests of maintaining rapport with their patient) can write what is called an EA or Emergency Action, which then empowers the police to detain them. The police can also write an EA, I think, but they also prefer to leave it to the experts. Once written, an EA can only be rescinded by a doctor, though they are also time-limited and are sometimes allowed to expire (which probably was never the intent of those who wrote the legislation).

So, in a nutshell, in the ACT, if a person needs to be taken somewhere (usually hospital) against their will, only the police can do this.

It is very difficult from information posted here to determine what illness your son is suffering from, but many families get confused between mental illness and the lifestyle choice to abuse drugs, some of which cause symptoms such as paranoia.

MHW

Special G Special G 4:26 pm 07 Jun 11

Violet68 you have truly shown your colours and I nominate you for nutbag of the week. The reasons being:
4 posts in a row
Good use of capital letters
Claimed expertise
Clearly emotional
Anti Police
Taking hearsay as gospel
Changing your story several times whilst scrambling to save your argument.
Expecting to find sympathy on RiotACT.

Well done.

fgzk fgzk 12:03 pm 07 Jun 11

Its not going to work. It will only be a matter of time before the police put the clinicians right on all their failings and lies. Good help them should they have an opinion that difference in anyway from that of a serving officer, let alone a statement in court. Not a fun job.

The money may have been better spent “supporting” the actual police officers directly. Dealing with the public is enough to send anyone nuts.

Violet68 Violet68 9:34 am 07 Jun 11

[You sure are on a roll (that’s not a good thing in your case). “Off himself” – your son’s words, not theirs I suspect. How dare they go and check on your son to make sure he hasn’t (or doesn’t intend to) hurt himself. Oh dear, he has withdrawn because police checked on his welfare (at whose request, I wonder. They don’t check welfare randomly). All these years of mental illness and a visit from police to make sure he’s okay is the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Does he think everyone – including his family – are out to get him because a family member made the call? Or did a family member call CATT and they refused to attend due to previous violent behaviour and requested police attend instead? I wonder…

It’s pretty clear from your rants that your only real world experience with mental health is through your son and text books. You’re clearly anti-police and are looking to blame everyone else for your son’s behaviour. Grow up.

I asked them to check on him approx 2 years ago and waited outside while they went in. He wasn’t home. Same police happened to arrest him recently and decided to tell him all about their trip to his home – taunting him about it – telling them they’d been in there before (and don’t deny that they taunt people and mess with their heads deliberately to get information). Actually, my son probably would have said “top himself” but that’s by the by……He thinks people are out to get him because he is not well at the moment and now any trust he had for us is gone. I don’t blame anyone for his behaviour. I am pissed off and fed up with having to go through the same shit on a regular basis without any change in response or progress.

I’m not the only one with a shit story to tell http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/notforservice/documents/chapters/stories.pdf

Just to clarify – I’ve case managed in supported accommodation, aged and disability (including mental health) and volunteer for a mental health organisation so not all my experience comes from my personal life or text books.

For the person, who’s been going for 20 years it would be great if you could share some of your experience instead of putting me down…….coming on here recently has allowed me to voice my frustrations but has just reaffirmed the fact that nobody is listening.

And for my final intelligent comment…..go fk yourselves 🙂

Tooks Tooks 8:04 am 07 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

And while I’m on a roll…..I’d like to send a big shout out to the fine upstanding Police Officers who told my son that we did a welfare check on him in case he was going to “off himself” (their words not ours)……he has withdrawn even further now believing there is noone to trust because everyone is out to get him – including his family. Thanks for that.

You sure are on a roll (that’s not a good thing in your case). “Off himself” – your son’s words, not theirs I suspect. How dare they go and check on your son to make sure he hasn’t (or doesn’t intend to) hurt himself. Oh dear, he has withdrawn because police checked on his welfare (at whose request, I wonder. They don’t check welfare randomly). All these years of mental illness and a visit from police to make sure he’s okay is the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Does he think everyone – including his family – are out to get him because a family member made the call? Or did a family member call CATT and they refused to attend due to previous violent behaviour and requested police attend instead? I wonder…

It’s pretty clear from your rants that your only real world experience with mental health is through your son and text books. You’re clearly anti-police and are looking to blame everyone else for your son’s behaviour. Grow up.

vg vg 12:26 am 07 Jun 11

“yeah I suppose 12 years of working in the community sector and about 10 years of caring for someone with an illness don’t count for much. What would I know?”

I’ll double it

You are an anti-Police axe grinder who wouldn’t know the pointy end of a mad/bad man if it screamed at you

LSWCHP LSWCHP 11:05 pm 06 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

yeah I suppose 12 years of working in the community sector and about 10 years of caring for someone with an illness don’t count for much. What would I know?

I don’t think it matters what you know. If you come into a public forum like this lobbing aggressive and poorly thought out abuse at all and sundry as you have, then one of two things will happen. Some people will ignore you as I generally do because you’re not worth contending with, and others will wind you up for a bit of fun.

Whatever the case, you’re going to wear out your fingers and keyboard without any real benefit to yourself or anyone else.

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