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Police and health services working to help people with mental health needs

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and local health services are integrating to help people with mental illness who routinely come into contact with police.

The 12-month pilot will see mental health professionals from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust based at the Rochdale Police Station.

They will work alongside a dedicated police co-ordinator to help identify and engage with people with mental health needs who frequently come into contact with the police services.

Once identified, the mental health practitioner will assess if the vulnerable individual requires further support from mental health, social care or other support services.

Louise Shaw, specialist mental health practitioner at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a new and exciting opportunity to build upon the relationship between local mental health and police services.

“It is evidence of the commitment from the local NHS and the police in providing a strong and successful partnership with the common aim of improving the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable within our community.

“We are confident that this will not only bring about positive changes to the lives of people in need, but it will also reduce the demand on the police, health and social care and other support services in our local area.”

Chief Superintendent Chris Sykes said: “Our foremost objective with this pilot is to provide the most effective care and support to those with mental health issues, as soon we are aware of their needs. Having mental health professionals on hand will speed up this process and in turn benefit those most in need.”

Dr Anirban Roy, clinical lead for Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The team from Rochdale are already working with a number of people who have frequent contact with the police, and with the support of other health professionals are identifying problem cases before they can escalate, helping to reduce the demand placed on a number of front line emergency services.

“We are confident that the pilot will not only improve the health and wellbeing of these individuals, it will be positive for the community as a whole.”