What about the rest of the vulnerable people?

Someone thought it would be a good idea to put mental health nurses into police stations and courts. This move is to help diagnose people before they reach prison…where they get diagnosed.

I’m in two minds about this idea. Is it a good idea to have someone on hand to assist with mental health issues? Yes. If someone is in a prison cell and they’re feeling suicidal or in distress, it helps having a trained professional there.

Some people who are arrested are vulnerable adults, some of them are children or teenagers, and their mental health should be as high a priority as their physical health. Placing mental health nurses in police stations and courts would enable them to better care for those who are at risk of suicide and those who have mental health issues who need other forms of immediate support.

Having a mental health nurse in a police station or court merely to diagnose someone seems a little pointless if they’re going to be diagnosed anyway as soon as they reach a prison. But having one there to ensure that those with complex mental health conditions are cared for effectively and those at risk of suicide are properly cared for…then that would be a better idea, as far as I’m concerned.

But I am puzzled.

Who decided that mental health nurses in police stations and courts was the best idea, above all other options?

Police stations and courts are not the only place where vulnerable people are at risk, where people are suffering from undiagnosed mental health conditions.

I’ve heard stories aplenty of people going into A&E departments because they’re suicidal. You’d expect them to get a high level of support, but no, some are treated horrifically. It’s as though, if you can’t see the injury, what the hell are you doing in A&E? What is an emergency if not a person whose life hangs in the balance? That doesn’t have to just be because someone has been in a car accident, it can also be because they’re on the verge of ending their life and they want to be saved. Where are the mental health nurses in the HOSPITAL where emergencies are dealt with? It’s surely the most basic option, to have a mental health nurse in an A&E department to deal with those who are at risk and in need of help.

Then there are schools. How many children and young people must suffer from undiagnosed mental illness? There are plenty of children who are suffering every single day from the affects of bullying. Then there are children and young people who have difficult home lives, something which makes them struggle with day to day life. There will be some who have diagnosed mental health conditions and merely need additional support. Where are the mental health nurses for schools, colleges and universities? How many young people end their lives because things are just too difficult?

It’s great that somebody has had the common sense to finally employ mental health nurses to be in places where vulnerable people may need help. It would be even better if they could think further than prisons and/or use this pilot to not just appeal to those who are faced with criminal offenses.

(News article – BBC News)


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