Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has invited partners from across the East Midlands to a roundtable meeting to examine progress made in mental health care.
The event, which takes place on Thursday 11 May at the Joint Police and Fire HQ in Ripley, coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week - a national campaign running from May 8-14 which brings attention to mental illness and examines how mental wellbeing can be improved.
Mr Dhindsa, who led the work on mental health service provision during his time as deputy PCC and is co-chair of the Mental Health Concordat in Derbyshire, strongly supports efforts to improve the care of vulnerable people experiencing mental health crisis or learning difficulties who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.
His Police and Crime Plan prioritises mental health care and outlines his commitment to ensuring those with mental illness receive the right treatment in the right place and from the right professional during crisis.
The round table event will bring together a range of experts to hear from the Commissioner, David Gardner from Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group and co-chair of the Mental Health Concordat in Derbyshire, Leicestershire's Chief Constable Simon Cole, who is national lead for Mental Health and Disability and Terry Simpson, head of Mental Health Services at East Midlands Ambulance Service.
It comes as the Commissioner celebrates a successful first year as PCC which has seen improvements across a raft of policing areas including the way officers respond to incidents related to mental health, enhanced provision for victims of crime, new alcohol and antisocial behaviour strategies and the adoption of new technology to maintain officer visibility in Derbyshire's communities.
Mr Dhindsa said: "Huge strides have been made to improve the way we respond, care and protect people who experience an emergency mental health crisis. Joint problem-solving and engagement between the police, healthcare professionals and justice partners has been a key ingredient to our success but there is more to do and it's clear we need to keep the momentum of progress going.
"Demand for mental health services remains high and many of the challenges we all face in responding to incidents involving mental illness concern the availability of specialist care in an appropriate setting. That setting should never be in a police cell and pleasingly our new safeguarding model ensures this situation doesn't happen in Derbyshire.
"Our duty is not only to protect and safeguard in the short-term but also to ensure vulnerable people are given the best chance of long-term recovery and are encouraged to thrive rather than simply survive. This means looking again at the current pathways into treatment and best practice evidence across the country to recognise how we can do things better.
"This meeting endorses the positive messages of Mental Health Awareness Week and will examine how best we can achieve that through continued partnership working."
Mental Health Awareness Week is run by the Mental Health Foundation. This year's theme focuses on ‘Surviving or Thriving' and examines why so many people are not thriving with good mental health.
The PCC is also assisting Derbyshire Police at a number of joint Fire Service events in support of the week to promote work-related mental wellbeing including a mindfulness workshop and a charity ‘Stamp Out Stigma Walk'.
The roundtable event, which is being held towards the end of the week, will explore developments regionally and nationally into mental health care provision, identify future challenges and map out an action plan for further progress.