An agreement between the NHS, police, social services, housing services and other agencies, services and organisations is being launched today that is designed to make sure people get the help they need in a mental health crisis.
The crisis care concordat has been signed by national bodies including the Department of Health, NHS England, the Association of Chief Police Officers, British Transport Police, the Home Office, the Local Government Association, Mind and others who have all committed to work together to make sure people get urgent and appropriate care and support when in crisis.
The concordat has been informed by Mind’s long-running crisis care campaign, including our Listening to Experience report, and Mind has been chosen as the organisation to make sure the concordat is rolled out locally. We will promote the concordat at a local level and help local services set up their own agreements.
All parties have signed an agreement that says:
"We commit to work together to improve the system of care and support so people in crisis because of a mental health condition are kept safe and helped to find the support they need – whatever the circumstances in which they first need help – and from whichever service they turn to first.
"We will work together, and with local organisations, to prevent crises happening whenever possible through prevention and early intervention. We will make sure we meet the needs of vulnerable people in urgent situations. We will strive to make sure that all relevant public services support someone who appears to have a mental health problem to move towards Recovery.
"Jointly, we hold ourselves accountable for enabling this commitment to be delivered across England."
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
"This is the 999 plan for mental health. It should mean that anyone in mental health crisis gets urgent and appropriate help. It is founded on the fundamental principle that mental health is not the sole responsibility of the NHS – it is everyone’s business and people in crisis will only ever get the support they need and deserve if all national and local departments and services work together properly.
"Thousands of people access crisis care services every year, and countless more are turned away when they need help the most. Mind’s crisis care campaign has highlighted that excellent services do exist but that they are far too patchy. Improvements to access and quality are long-overdue and it is crucial now that local services involved in the care of people in crisis pick up the baton and make this important agreement a reality in their own area.
"I am delighted that Mind has been chosen as the organisation to take the concordat forward and help embed it in local communities. We have a difficult job to do, particularly in the face of continued cuts to NHS mental health and other local services, but we firmly believe that the concordat can and will succeed in every part of England, for the benefit of all of us who might find ourselves in crisis."
You can read the concordat at the Department of Health website and our blogger Alison shares her thoughts on what this agreement for people who experience crisis.
Find out more about our crisis care campaign.