Mother praises Bedfordshire mental health services

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Bedfordshire’s new Mental Health Street Triage has received a heart-felt yhank you from a mother whose son was helped in a crisis.

In a letter to triage partners the mother described how her 18-year-old, who suffers from depression and paranoia, became psychotic and aggressive after his condition deteriorated.

She dialled 999 for an ambulance, and the call handler alerted the Mental Health Street Triage.

The team attended, providing expert support.

She wrote: “It was heart breaking to see him in such a bad state.

“I cannot put into words how amazing they were and how much support they gave to my husband and I.

“We felt we were speaking to experts who would ensure we got the right outcome for our son. We had both been through so much, as had our son, who by now was afraid of what was happening to him.

“The mental health nurse quickly came to the conclusion that he was not on the right medication, and tried get different medication for him that night.

“It was difficult for them, but they did after numerous phone calls.

“He told them he would not take the new medication so they stepped in to get [our son] admitted to hospital. The doctors, who were also fantastic, arrived but as he would not agree to go, [our son] was sectioned.

“Throughout this the street triage team were so supportive, explained what was going on, were lovely to my son, but above all were so determined to help us. I really don’t know what would have happened if they were not there.

“The work this team do cannot be measured against any standard department, as the people they are dealing with are not straight forward and all need a variety of treatment and support.

“My husband and I are eternally grateful for what they did. Please pass on our sincere thanks to all those who came to our house.”

Gail Dearing, associate director of Social Care for Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, said: “For me this statement reflects exactly what street triage is about in that a mental health crisis requires the same response as a physical health crisis and this ensures the best possible experience and outcome for both the person in mental distress and their family.”

The pilot scheme sees a police officer, paramedic and mental health professional team up in one car to respond to mental health crisis calls 365 days a year. They cover the county, operating from 3pm – 1am, with bases at police headquarters in Kempston and Luton Police Station.

The team will attend incidents where there is an immediate threat to life – someone threatening to self-harm or commit suicide – or where a third party has called the police or ambulance and expressed concern. The team has a dedicated phone and can be referred to incidents by police and ambulance control rooms.