Trial partnering mental health clinicians with police

Mental health clinicians are being based in the SA Police communications room in trial to better support mental health consumers and avoid unnecessary hospital presentations.

SAPOL transfers on average 100 mental health consumers to Emergency Departments (ED) across the metropolitan area each month.

Often an assessment in hospital isn’t the best pathway for the patient and the SAPOL transfer and experience in the busy ED can exacerbate their mental health condition.

The 12-week trial aims to improve the experience and outcomes for a person in crisis by providing more timely access to mental health assessment or treatment, in the most appropriate setting. This could be at home or in the community, rather than in hospital.

A specialised mental health nurse and a social worker will be able to provide expertise and access to mental health data bases within the SAPOL communications room.

“Providing advice to police on relevant mental health history will help support the actions in deciding on the best assessment and care options for patients,” Central Adelaide Local Health Network Mental Health Nursing Lead, Lesley Legg, said.

“The role of our clinicians is to assist in the triaging of mental health related calls for assistance and where appropriate reduce police involvement.

“This also includes helping to facilitate the use of ambulance services, rather than police transport, if a consumer does require a hospital presentation.

“They will also be able to notify EDs of incoming presentations to help facilitate more timely assessment.

“We anticipate a reduction in ED crisis presentations and improve patient care by delivering safe and high quality mental health assessment and interventions when necessary in the most appropriate location.”