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New scheme to assist mental health crisis

01 December 2017

A new pilot scheme aimed at supporting Islanders with mental health problems at times of crisis has been launched. The Community Triage scheme uses mental health nurses, who will be available ‘out-of-hours’ to provide a rapid response and assist police officers and/or ambulance colleagues.

The pilot scheme is a partnership between the Health and Social Services Department (HSSD), the States of Jersey Police and the States of Jersey Ambulance Service, and is working with people aged 18 – 65.

Community Triage involves a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MHNP) accompanying or assisting the Police and/or Ambulance Service at incidents where there is concern about the mental health presentation of an individual.

The scheme operates with a mental health nurse on duty between the hours of 5pm to 9am on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. The scheme has already been used on four occasions, with vulnerable members of the public being given the help they need.

Previously, police cells have had to be used as a place of safety on some occasions. However, although safe, cells are not an ideal place for someone in mental health distress to be looked after and one of the primary aims of the scheme is to reduce this.

Assistance in person or by telephone

The mental health nurse will be available to attend incidents across the Island and will also provide advice by telephone, aiming to ensure the most appropriate options are considered and accessed for each individual in crisis.

The aim of the pilot scheme is to work in collaboration to:

  • improve the service user’s experience
  • avoid unnecessary detentions under Article 47 of the Jersey Mental Health Law
  • reduce repeat attendances at the Emergency Department
  • improve collaboration between agencies and enhance information sharing

Director of Operations for HSSD, Jo Poynter, said “All vulnerable people need help swiftly, and we’re delighted to be working with our police and ambulance colleagues on this important pilot. Although it’s in its early stages, we’re encouraged that it’s been used several times already, and that people are getting expert help and the right intervention when they need it most.”

Chief Ambulance Officer Peter Gavey said “The Ambulance Service is pleased to be a part of this multi-agency initiative that will deliver a more personalised and discreet service to people in crisis in the community, so that they are offered the right service in the right place and at the right time.”

Chief Inspector Mark Hafey added “We support this excellent initiative and look forward to working with our partners to further enhance the service provided to Islanders who seek support at difficult times.”

Minister for Health and Social Services, Senator Andrew Green, added “I am delighted that this pilot scheme is up and running. We are committed to doing all we can to assist vulnerable people who need support with mental health. It is as important as physical health, and having this out-of-hours service addresses an important need.”

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