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 get the help they need when they are having a mental health crisis.
The Concordat focuses on four main areas:
- Access to support before crisis point – making sure people with mental health problems can get help 24 hours a day and that when they ask for help, they are taken seriously.
- Urgent and emergency access to crisis care – making sure that a mental health crisis is treated with the same urgency as a physical health emergency.
- Quality of treatment and care when in crisis – making sure that people are treated with dignity and respect, in a therapeutic environment.
- Recovery and staying well – preventing future crises by making sure people are referred to appropriate services.
Although the Crisis Care Concordat focuses on the responses to acute mental health crises, it also includes a section on prevention and intervention. The Concordat builds on and does not replace existing guidance. Current service provision should continue while the Action Plan is being devised.
Local areas will now sign their own regional and local agreements to commit to working together across services to improve care and potentially save lives.
The Crisis Care Concordat challenges local areas to make sure that:
- Health-based places of safety and beds are available 24/7 in case someone experiences a mental health crisis
- Police custody should not be used because mental health services are not available and police vehicles should also not be used to transfer patients. We want to see the number of occasions police cells are used as a place of safety for people in mental health crisis halved compared 2011/12
- Timescales are put in place so police responding to mental health crisis know how long they have to wait for a response from health and social care workers. This will make sure patients get suitable care as soon as possible
- People in crisis should expect that services will share essential ‘need to know’ information about them so they can receive the best care possible. This may include any history of physical violence, self-harm or drink or drug history
- Figures suggest some black and minority ethnic groups are detained more frequently under the Mental Health Act. Where this is the case, it must be addressed by local services working with local communities so that the standards set out in the Concordat are met
- A 24-hour helpline should be available for people with mental health problems and the crisis resolution team should be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week