Every four minutes the police receive a call regarding concerns over mental health
November 28, 2018
By: Jenna Rachid
The police have become the ‘default’ service to deal with people struggling with their mental health, the BBC reports.
A watchdog for police forces in England and Wales released figures showing that the top five repeat callers to police phoned 8,655 times in 2017. All calls were attributed to mental health problems, racking up £70,000 in costs.
In 50% of calls regarding mental health, police, rather than ambulance services, transport people to ‘places of safety.’
The Police Federation said the prime minister and home secretary ‘should hang their heads in shame.’
HM Inspector of Constabulary, Zoë Billingham, said: ‘other services need to stop relying on the 24/7 availability of the police.’
‘This is letting down people with mental health problems, as well as placing an intolerable burden on police officers and staff. ‘
‘It is a national crisis which should not be allowed to continue; there needs to be a fundamental rethink and urgent action,’ she added.
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found the mental health problems are costing the UK billions in treatment, social support, and unemployment.
According to The Guardian, 84 million people in Europe are struggling with mental health problems – amounting to one in six.
The OECD’s report examined the help received by people of all ages.
The mental health of people who are unemployed, as well as the older generation, were stressed as being of particular concern. Efforts to combat loneliness through clubs and services have been highlighted as an effective strategy in dealing with mental health problems.
The report also cited research that found ‘11% of children aged 11, 13 and 15 had been bullied at least once by some form of internet messaging.’ It suggested that schools were ‘an ideal setting for interventions.’
Jo Bibby, director of health at the Health Foundation, said: ‘It is important that strategies to improve health, including mental health, take a life course approach starting from the early years, the transition into adulthood and right through to older ages.’
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