NSLHD News October 8

Mental health clinicians working with police as first responders Mental health clinicians are now based at Ku- ring-gai and Dee Why police stations offering on scene or telephone assessment to assist officers manage people in a mental health crisis as part of a new program.

The clinicians officially joined the ranks at the local area police commands last month and will be embedded in the stations offering support to officers in how to respond to mental health emergencies, as well as attend situations where mental health concerns have been raised. The Police Ambulance and Clinical Early Response (PACER) program is part of the NSW Government’s $73 million COVID-19 mental health package and sees 36 specialist mental health clinicians employed across 10 police area commands and districts in Sydney following the strong results of a pilot program. NSW Police last year attended more than 55,000 mental health incidents. Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Director Andrea Taylor said the presence of a PACER clinician in a police station will increase the knowledge and understanding of mental health issues amongst police. “With police and clinicians working together in a mental health emergency, we are more likely to see better health outcomes for people in the community experiencing a mental health crisis,” Andrea said. “The specialist mental health clinicians will also be able to support and educate police officers in responding to people who may be suffering from a mental health issue. “The faster we can assess and connect

Crew at the Hornsby PACER launch

Crew at the Dee Why PACER launch

people at the time of crisis with the most appropriate support, the better the health outcome will be for them ensuring that they receive the right care and treatment in the right place. It will also release police so they can spend more time serving our community in other areas.” This month is Mental Health Month. There are plenty of activities being held across the district to raise awareness of mental health. To view the events, click here.

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