Implementing street triage: a qualitative study of collaboration between police and mental health servicesReport as inadecuate




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BMC Psychiatry

, 16:313

Social psychiatry, therapy and provision of mental health care

Abstract

BackgroundStreet Triage is a collaborative service between mental health workers and police which aims to improve the emergency response to individuals experiencing crisis, but peer reviewed evidence of the effectiveness of these services is limited.
We examined the design and potential impact of two services, along with factors that hindered and facilitated the implementation of the services.

MethodsWe conducted 14 semi-structured interviews with mental health and police stakeholders with experience of a Street Triage service in two locations of the UK.
Framework analysis identified themes related to key aspects of the Street Triage service, perceived benefits of Street Triage, and ways in which the service could be developed in the future.

ResultsStakeholders endorsed the Street Triage services which utilised different operating models.
These models had several components including a joint response vehicle or a mental health worker in a police control room.
Operating models were developed with consideration of the local geographical and population density.
The ability to make referrals to the existing mental health service was perceived as key to the success of the service yet there was evidence to suggest Street Triage had the potential to increase pressure on already stretched mental health and police services.
Identifying staff with skills and experience for Street Triage work was important, and their joint response resulted in shared decision making which was less risk averse for the police and regarded as in the interest of patient care by mental health professionals.
Collaboration during Street Triage improved the understanding of roles and responsibilities in the ‘other’ agency and led to the development of local information sharing agreements.
Views about the future direction of the service focused on expansion of Street Triage to address other shared priorities such as frequent users of police and mental health services, and a reduction in the police involvement in crisis response.

ConclusionThe Street Triage service received strong support from stakeholders involved in it.
Referral to existing health services is a key function of Street Triage, and its impact on referral behaviour requires rigorous evaluation.
Street Triage may result in improvement to collaborative working but competing demands for resources within mental health and police services presented challenges for implementation.

KeywordsStreet triage Mental health Police Crisis Response Collaboration AbbreviationsAMPHApproved Mental Health Practitioner

NHSNational Health Service

S136Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12888-016-1026-z contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Kimberley Horspool - Sarah J. Drabble - Alicia O’Cathain

Source: https://link.springer.com/



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