Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner takes on subject of mental health

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Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner joined a panel at Staffordshire University yesterday (April 12) to talk about the importance of mental health.

The ‘In Conversation’ event, heard a panel of experts discuss the subject of mental health and how it affects every sector of the community.

Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, sat on the panel to discuss the impact that mental health has on policing.

Mr Ellis has been working on the issue of policing and mental health on a national stage for five years.

He says real progress has been made by Staffordshire Police so far, in reducing the number of times cells are used as a ‘place of safety’ for those in mental health crisis.

And since those concerns were raised, a strategic mental health board was re-established and is now looking at a multi-agency approach across the county.

Other members on the panel included Staffordshire University student Charlie Crawford, Darren Lomas who works with people with learning difficulties and Tom Snape, Keele University’s representative, who has worked closely with male mental health.

The panel discussed topics from mental health institutions, services available for those suffering with mental health issues and male mental health.

Speaking on the topic of mental health in institutions, Matthew Ellis, said: “I was really surprised in the year 2013, in the United Kingdom, people were being put into cells who hadn’t committed a crime, who were simply unwell through mental health issues.

“I was also concerned that police officers were too often being asked to do jobs they are not qualified to do. They are not mental health professionals.”

On the topic of male mental health, Keele University’s representative Tom Snape, said: “Men are dis-proportionally to be impacted by these sorts of things, but also dis-proportionality unlikely to seek support.

“Lots of coping mechanisms men are likely to adopt are detrimental to their overall health and well-being.

“Men will often leave things to breaking point because of the context in which they operate and that will lead to the other situations we have.”

Fiona Wood, who organised the ‘In Conversation’ series of events, said she did so because mental health “has been a taboo subject for far too long and people need to start listening.”

She said: “It is time to break the barriers, not allow each other to suffer in silence and support others by listening.”

The event was streamed live by Staffs TV and can be watched here.

(Picture provided by Staffs TV). 

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