Thursday, February 27, 2014

“It's unacceptable that there are incidents where young people and even children can end up in a police cell because the right mental health service isn't available to them,” said Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister.

England Moves to Decriminalize Mental Illness

(Feb. 19, 2014) England is planning to halve the number of times that police cells are used as an acceptable place to hold people in the midst of a psychiatric crisis (“Use of police cells during mental health crises to be halved,” the Guardian, Feb. 17).
The new agreement is a multi-organizational partnership that aims to coordinate law enforcement and mental health organizations to get people with mental illness into contact with mental health services before they end up in jail.
police_cell“It's unacceptable that there are incidents where young people and even children can end up in a police cell because the right mental health service isn't available to them,” said Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister.
“That is why we’re taking action across the country and across organizations to make sure those with mental health problems are receiving the emergency care they need,” he continued.
The goals of the partnership include:
  • Access to support before a crisis
  • Urgent and emergency access to crisis care
  • The right quality of treatment and care
  • Recovery and staying well, and preventing future crises
Twenty-two organizations signed the agreement to prevent crises from happening whenever possible by meeting the needs of vulnerable people in an urgent situation.
Now the United States just needs to look to England’s example.
Instead, fewer than half the U.S. population lives in communities where the most basic methods of diverting people with severe mental illness from the criminal justice system are being used, according to our recent study “Prevalence of Mental Health Diversion Practices: A Survey of the States.”
SEE WHERE YOUR STATE RANKS on diverting people with severe mental illness from jail.
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