Across the UK, emergency and healthcare services respond every minute to people in mental health crisis. Mental health crisis calls are increasing consistently each year.
But there is also ‘a problem within this problem’ because in every community, up to 40% of this demand is caused by the same patients: a small number of repeat callers who struggle to manage highly complex behavioural disorders and who, as a result place intensive operational demands on police, ambulance, A&E departments and mental health teams.
Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) is an innovative mental health workforce model that brings together the police and community mental health services in order to better support people with complex mental health needs.
SIM intervention teams slowly reduce the pattern of high risk behaviour. Every patient is different, but the best results so far have seen crisis calls and demand reduced by up to 90%.
How SIM works
SIM carefully selects and trains police officers and police staff alongside their clinical colleagues. Together they learn about the trauma and triggers that lead to high intensity behaviour, they discuss how best to manage risk and how to ensure that the service user does not keep on repeating the same high risk, high harm behaviour.
The officer is then based within their local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) to assist with the clinical and risk management of the most challenging cases.
Over time this multi-dimensional team combine clinical, risk and behavioural management skills to work with service users to develop a personalised care plan. These teams work alongside the patients and encourage even the most challenging of clients towards more consistent and healthy coping strategies. Focusing on the complex factors driving their crisis and providing opportunities to break this cycle offers significant benefits to the individual, their families, and their communities, as well as a reduction in section 136 detentions and associated costs.
- Reduction in the number of police incidences requiring deployment
- Decrease in use of section 136
- Reduced strain on the NHS through a reduction in the number of ambulance deployments; the number of A&E attendances and 24 hour bed occupancy in a mental health bed
- Reintegration of service users in to the community
What’s going on locally?
The West of England AHSN has been working with individual mental health trusts and police forces to facilitate spread and adoption of SIM in both mental health trusts; the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP). The 2gether Trust have successfully launched and have integrated SIM in to the existing model of care for high intensity users in Gloucestershire. In AWP, the North Wiltshire police locality are working towards a launch of SIM in summer 2019.