Mental health

Everyone has mental health. It involves our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and it affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with poor mental health can get better and many recover completely.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems
  • Mental health awareness


To report a mental health issue

People living in Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland can call the Initial Response Service on 0303 123 1145. If you or another person have been harmed or are at immediate risk you may require an emergency response – contact 999  and ask for the relevant service 

  • Call NHS 111. It’s open 24/7. They can tell you about your local crisis support services or your nearest A&E.
  • Those in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland can call the Initial Response Team on 0303 123 1146
  • If you need urgent help with your mental health right now, you can get in touch with the Trust’s Initial Response services. These numbers are open for anyone to call, 24 hours a day.

Can you prevent poor mental health?

We can all suffer from mental health challenges but developing our wellbeing, resilience and seeking help early on can prevent them from becoming more serious.

Are there cures for mental health problems?

It is often more helpful to deal with the issues behind your mental health. Talking, counselling, medication, friendships, exercise and good sleep can all help.

How do the police deal with people with mental health issues?

Northumbria Police treat all people with mental disorders and learning disabilities with dignity and respect.

Officers and staff will have:

  • A core basic awareness of mental health issues, learning disabilities and vulnerability; 
  • Skills for managing people at the point of contact through the use of effective communication
  • De-escalation skills and an understanding of the dangers of using restraint techniques with vulnerable people
  • An awareness of liaison and diversion opportunities for people with mental health and learning disabilities
  • A good understanding of how to apply mental health legislation and the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983 codes of practice.

What is dual diagnosis?

This term is used to describe people who are diagnosed as having problematic drug use and a serious mental illness, particularly a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. 

How we promote mental health

Cutting edge training - RESPOND

Northumbria Police is proud to promote mental health awareness and we’re working with other emergency services to make sure that people facing a mental health crisis get the support whenever and wherever they need it.

Here’s how we’re working towards that ambition:

Cutting edge training - RESPOND

We’re training a selection of our officers alongside professionals from the NHS, paramedics, the Local Authority and crucially  ‘experts by experience’ – people who have had experience of using mental health services. Together, we’ll ensure that those in crisis are offered the right care and support, and are signposted to the most appropriate service. The training is called RESPOND.

This state of the art simulation training presents real life situations where there’s a mental health crisis. Officers come away with a better understanding of how to recognise mental health problems, understand the roles and responsibilities of our partners and are able to identify issues much more quickly in order to deliver a higher quality of care to such vulnerable individual.

Street triage

Street triage

Street triage provides the most appropriate care to those in crisis. It involves a police officer and mental health nurse working together to provide face to face intervention. This helps to ensure that people are not unnecessarily detained by the police under the Mental Health Act but are given a clinical assessment by the nurse so that they can receive the most appropriate care.  They operate 7 days a week across Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead areas.

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviours can be an early indication of an issue:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

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