Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Hayes, will host a live webchat to support and raise awareness around mental health and wellbeing issues today as part of National Mental Health Awareness Week.
The webchat will take place this evening, Thursday, May 15 between 6 and 7pm as part of the week long national event,.
The focus is on ‘anxiety’ as it can be a symptom of the onset of wider mental health issues.
Simon Hayes said in a statement.
“Many people close to us can be affected by mental health illness which comes in varying forms. It affects around 1 in 6 people in the UK, 1 in 4 of whom will suffer from anxiety or depression. It is essential that we recognise that people with mental health issues are more vulnerable to being victims of crime as well as, potentially, being the perpetrators. We should therefore look at ways in which this can be prevented by raising awareness and encouraging those with issues to seek professional advice and support.”
Since taking up his role as Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012, Mr Hayes has already raised concerns about the treatment of mental health patients arrested under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and the lack of adequate places of safety available to them.
The Commissioner has also funded the extension of two pilot schemes, (Op Serenity), where mental health professionals work alongside police officers responding to reports involving people experiencing mental health concerns.
Locally, Health and Wellbeing Boards are taking forward the practical Mental Health Concordat with the aim of the Mental Health Crisis Declaration being signed by relevant partners in each top-tier authority area across the two counties. Further work is also being carried out through meetings with Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Mr Hayes concluded:
“Through this webchat, I would like to hear from members of the public who have experience of mental health issues, directly or indirectly, where there was police involvement and how they were supported. This will provide me with a greater understanding of what is being done well and where services might need to improve.”
Nationally, charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are challenging mental health stigma and discrimination through the Time to Change programme, the biggest mental health campaign in England. Nearly nine out of ten people who experience mental health issues say they face stigma and discrimination, which can be even worse than the symptoms themselves. Mr Hayes has made a pledge to end mental health discrimination on the Time to Change website here
Anyone who would like to participate in the webchat with Mr Hayes on Thursday, can do so here: