Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
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Hertfordshire partners pledge to improve mental health care
Agencies across the county have made a pledge to improve the care for people in a mental health crisis by signing up to the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. Ten local authorities, trusts and justice services are already developing a joint plan of action for how they will work together to improve care and support.
 
The Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat is a national agreement between services and agencies involved in the care and support of people in crisis. It sets out how organisations will work together better to make sure that people in crisis receive urgent mental health care.
 
In February 2014, more than 20 national bodies involved in health, policing, social care, housing, local government and the third sector came together and signed the concordat. It focuses on four main areas: access to support before crisis point; urgent and emergency access to crisis care; quality of treatment and care when in crisis; and recovery and staying well.
 
Hertfordshire will be one of the areas leading the way in the UK. Overseeing the local Concordat will be Hertfordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board and the Community Safety Board. The local partner agencies are working together on a plan of action for Hertfordshire.
 
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, who is also chair of the county’s Community Safety Board, has an unparalleled cross-agency view, enabling him to support and champion work on mental health and encourage partners to play their part.
 
He said: “I am delighted to play my part in a forward-thinking county that is paving the way in getting to grips with mental health crises in this country. I want to do everything I can to ensure that local resources are co-ordinated and used in the most efficient way to support vulnerable people across the county before they reach crisis point. We want to end the problem of practitioners and service managers seeing individuals time and time again and, instead, deal with the issues in their entirety.
 
“People suffering a crisis due to a mental health issue are not only more vulnerable as victims of crime but can also become perpetrators of crime. If we can truly work together to help people at an early stage we can stop issues escalating, reduce the number of victims and prevent crime.”
 
He added: “One of my core principles for making Hertfordshire an even safer place is partnership working. This Concordat is a perfect example of how crossing professional boundaries can be one of the best ways to truly help people, especially those who are most vulnerable.”
 
Chair of Hertfordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Colette Wyatt-Lowe, said: “I am delighted that agencies across Hertfordshire have come together to be at the forefront of this national drive to give a better deal to people with mental health problems.”
 
Cllr Wyatt-Lowe, who is also the Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health at Hertfordshire County Council, added: “We want residents to live healthy and independent lives and to feel safe in their communities. Acting quickly before people are in crisis is one of the ways we will do this. At the same time we need to ensure people have good access to high quality urgent care when they need it.
 
“By working together we will be able to make much better use of our expertise and resources to support some of the most vulnerable people in our local communities, helping them to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
 
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: "Improving mental health crisis care is a major priority and our Crisis Care Concordat is helping make sure people in distress get the urgent, compassionate care they need.
 
“I’d like to congratulate Hertfordshire for signing their declaration and strongly urge others to follow suit. Better, more consistent and more collaborative care for people in crisis will not only help those living through their darkest hours to recover, it can also save lives. I want to make sure we cover the whole country by the end of the year so that we rapidly spread best practice.”
 
Policing Minister Mike Penning said: “The Home Secretary and I have made it a priority to vastly improve the way people with mental health issues are dealt with when they come into contact with the police. I am delighted to see that the police in Hertfordshire have joined the NHS and other agencies to pledge their commitment to the Crisis Care Concordat.”
 
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “We are really pleased to see organisations getting together locally and taking the first steps toward improving the care of people in mental health crisis. We know that where excellent crisis care exists, it saves lives, but too often people fall through the cracks between different services and don’t get the help they need.
 
"Local health services, local authorities, the criminal justice system and voluntary organisations must deliver a joined-up service and learn from each other to truly provide the best possible care."
 
For more information about the concordat, click here.