Newly-recruited police officers in Salford will experience what it is like for someone to be detained under the mental health act, as part of a new training initiative.
This experience will form part of a training course developed by health professionals at Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW), in conjunction with Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
The mental health awareness training aims to de-mystify stigmatise mental health issues and helps recruits feel confident in communicating with people who are experiencing distress.
Officers will attend local mental health services around Salford, primarily at the Meadowbrook unit, an adult inpatient facility at Salford Royal Hospital.
The recruits will experience the journey of a person detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, allowing them to see things from a service user perspective.
They will also take part in role- plays and group work to broaden their knowledge of mental health and the associated symptoms, such as hearing voices and how they impact people and affect behaviour.
David Chambers, Senior Practitioner for Nursing in Salford at GMW, said: “This training goes beyond mental health awareness, as, it provides new police officers with a unique insight into the journey a person experiencing a mental health crisis may encounter. The exercise gives officers insight into symptoms that people experience and has proven successful in challenging the stigma of mental health problems.”
Additionally, the training provides new police offers with information on the range of mental health services available to people in Salford, so that those in crisis can get the right help at the right time.
The opportunity to work in partnership with Greater Manchester Police, will equip all front line officers in Salford with the right skills and knowledge to help the most vulnerable members of society by protecting those in difficulty due to a mental health crisis.