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Mental health workers to deploy with police

By 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 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 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 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.

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