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Should people be put in a cell if police put them under the mental health act?

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Which needs staffing, and transport To it, etc etc. Cells are there anyway. Nice idea but.....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    YES A 136 MENTAL HEALTH SUITE IS WHERE THEY CAN BE HELD. :)

    And if they're all full, where do people go?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think, echoing what Scary Monster said, we're just going around in circles. Those of us with experience of trying to get help for people with serious mental health issues, and any other issue where we may need someone with better training, be it a social worker, mental health professional or even a doctor being frustrated at every turn because they simply aren't there when we and most other people need them. We do what we can by using the space we've got and we're criticised.

    It's nice to be idealistic but it doesn't work like that and people need to hurry up and realise it. There is no money left, any money that is found isn't going to be used to expand those services because it means other services have to suffer.

    I remember, 8 years ago talking a man down from killing himself and promising him I'd get him some help. Only to be told "sorry it's a sunday afternoon, call us tomorrow" by every person I contacted. It was left to his family to keep a vigil at his house.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    YES A 136 MENTAL HEALTH SUITE IS WHERE THEY CAN BE HELD. :)

    There's no need to shout. Don't be so bloody rude.

    Someone is detained whilst they are a danger to themselves and/or other people until they are assessed. Some people will be released in the morning when they are safe to be released back to their community carers without assessment, particularly where they are only a danger due to excessive alcohol or drug consumption. Some people will be assessed and released to community care. Some people will be admitted into hospital.

    Police station cells are not ideal, but there isn't an alternative. It'd be great if there was a bottomless pit of money to pay for short-term accommodation, but there isn't. Money is finite, especially in mental health services, and the choice is between these "suites" and long-term treatment for people with severe mental health conditions. The choice, quite simply, is between the inconvenience of keeping someone in a police cell overnight and the inconvenience of not being able to pay for their treatment.

    Which would you choose? Until you answer that there's precious little point continuing a debate. "LALA I WANT FLUFFY WORLD" isn't an option.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Very interesting thread this! Quite unusual too, but it's definitely one I can contribute from my own experience to. I was detained/arrested by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act last summer, I was taken straight away in handcuffs in the back of a paddy-wagon to a police station, strip searched and placed in a cell. Now, it sounds like a horrible experience, but to be honest, apart from the fact I was in a f*cked up suicidal mood anyway, it didn't really make a big difference that I was being kept in a cell. The fact is, most of the police officers were nice to me and supportive (I was spoiled with hot chocolate, heh). The stripsearch was embarrassing, but it's something I accept that had to be done. I had obvious razor cuts down my legs and they couldn't find a razor in my pockets so they obviously had to makesure I didn't sneak it in my underwear to use in my cell, although the truth is I never took it out with me that evening. I did not feel like a "criminal", though. I knew I was in a police station and I knew I was going to be placed in a cell, but imo, the police officers attitudes were what didn't make me feel criminalised. That is, except for this one cow who they put guarding my cell who didn't speak to me and just treated me like trash, i.e. I itched a wound on my arm and she threatened to have me restrained, so I felt really awkward and lonely.

    What I'm really saying, though, is that I do agree a proper Section 136 Suite is preferable to a police cell for 101 different reasons, from being a better 'atmosphere' to having staff trained in mental health accomodate your needs, the fact is if the police officers make an effort to be sympathetic and understanding to the needs/wants of a s.136 detainee, then a police cell can actually be an adequate Place of Safety (within reason). You have to remember, that it's only an emergency holding place. It's not like you'll be spending a lot of time in there. I was assessed within a few hours, although I do know of cases of people being kept for 12-24 hours, but newsflash: the very same thing happens in s.136 suites. I have a friend (I have quite a few "mentally ill" friends actually) who has been detained on a s.136 a couple of times and she's always been taken to a s.136 suite, but from what she described. It's honestly not much better than a police cell in practice. She was still locked in a small room, with nursing assistants who were rather patronising to her and treated her like as if she was a burden on them. She had to wait between 9-12 hours each time for an assessment.

    Are s.136 suites preferable to cells for s.136/135 detainees? Yes, I don't deny that. But lets face the fact that making these suites is costly and to be honest, are at the bottom of a long long list of Government priorities. In an ideal world (well more accurately England & Wales), they'd be everywhere. They'd be well-staffed, assessments would be nice and quick, the appropriate mental health care decision made. But it's not. A lot of s.136 procedure isn't even that thought through. Ideally, if someone's detained on a s.136 they're also meant to be physically assessed by paramedics and transported in an Ambulance to the PoS. In real life, the police will pick you up and put you in a police car/van and cart you off to the Nick (or s.136 Suite if there is one). Don't expect much to change soon. Most people in this country do not even know what Section 136 is, let alone the procedures or what the procedures should be, and mental illness is still quite stigmatised, so you can bet your lucky stars that people wouldn't want to spend "too much" money on sorting things like this out. So my short term recommendation would be that the police are given better MH training and required to be more sympathetic if they have to put a s.136 detainee in a cell. It wouldn't hurt to make that extra bit of effort to make them feel less criminalised and reassured that the police are trying to do the good thing for that person.

    Long post I know, but yeah, that's my 2p and objective view on this topic.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    :thumb: Good post
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Threxy wrote: »

    Long post I know, but yeah, that's my 2p and objective view on this topic.

    And a good post it was. It's interesting to hear from someone with direct experience of the issue in hand.
  • AuroraAurora Part of the furniture Posts: 11,720 An Original Mixlorian
    Hmm...They put you in a cell :O, WTF! I only got sent to the hospital I was 12 when the police got involved with me, then 12 1/2 then 13. Never got locked up though, police visits and all that shite! Got a Social worker back in to couuselling and yeah. Whatage do you have to be to get locked up?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's not an age thing, it's a not availability of hospital facilities thing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmm...They put you in a cell :O, WTF!



    Welcome to the thread......:yeees:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmm...They put you in a cell :O, WTF! I only got sent to the hospital I was 12 when the police got involved with me, then 12 1/2 then 13. Never got locked up though, police visits and all that shite! Got a Social worker back in to couuselling and yeah. Whatage do you have to be to get locked up?
    If you're detained under the Mental Health Act (s.136 and s.135) by the Police, yes, they can put you in a cell. In fact, it's very common as not many areas in England & Wales have these s.136 hospital suites to my knowledge. There's no official age policy on it, but it happens a lot more to people aged over 16, as [I think] the police try to get people under 16 taken home to their parents or something. I was detained at the age of 17, so yeah.
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