As police officers, we often come into contact with people at their lowest moments and this can include incidents when there are concerns for someone’s mental health and wellbeing.
We work closely with our Street Triage Team and our other partner support services to ensure people receive the most appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.
This includes helping to keep them out of police custody and finding the right support network.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re launching the #AskAgain campaign with the hope that people will take the time to reach out to loved ones and give them another chance to ask for help.
Northumbria Police Street Triage Officer Gav Craig, said: “By getting people to ‘Ask Again’ we’re hoping that those in need of support see this as a sign that those asking really do want to know how they’re doing and offer them help – it isn’t just a conversation starter.”
Thanks to the Force’s Street Triage team, officers have identified thousands of people in crisis and put them in touch with the appropriate mental health professionals – ensuring people get the right care at the right time.
The Street Triage Team, which launched in 2014, is a partnership involving Northumbria Police officers and mental health nurses who are employed by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
The team, who work 365-days-a-year, also advise and guide frontline officers on the best course of action for the individual. They also work closely with negotiator teams in dealing with high-risk incidents involving vulnerable people.
PC Craig added: “Often the police are the first service a member of the public would call if they’re concerned about themselves, someone they may know or even a stranger.
“And while it’s always right to seek help from police, it isn’t always in the person’s best interest to be dealt with by officers; sometimes they need specialist support from mental health professionals.
“As a Force, we’ve been working hard to continue to develop how we support mental health related incidents and working alongside our partners and implementing the Street Triage Team has been a big part of this.
“Officers working with mental health professionals has helped revolutionise our approach and protect people at their lowest moments.
“If you are in need, then please do reach out to the relevant support services – there are people who can help.”
If you’re worried about your own or someone’s mental health search ‘Northumbria Police Mental Health’ for more information or if the need is more urgent please contact the relevant mental health crisis service.
- Northumberland and North Tyneside: 0800 6522 861
- Newcastle and Gateshead: 0800 6522 863
- Sunderland and South Tyneside: 0800 6522 867
The NHS also has a text service for mental health support for those with hearing or speech impairments 07889 036 280.
Always remember if there is immediate threat to life to call 999 and ask for the relevant service.