14 February 2019

The BBC TV News programme ‘Inside Out London’ featured the Trust’s City & Hackney Mental Health Street Triage team in a report on ‘Stress in the City’ on Monday 11 February at 7.30pm.

The broadcast explores some of the unique pressures faced by people that work in the City of London, and what can be done to help people undergoing an emergency mental health crisis on the street.

The City & Hackney Street Triage Team work in collaboration with the City of London police, and having a mental health professional embedded with a police patrol during evenings and early mornings across the City has led to a marked reduction in the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act’s Section 136’ as well as allowing for a reduction in pressure on A&E staff. 

Before this unique collaborative partnership began, City of London police officers might have been called to an emergency but soon realise they were dealing with a mental health crisis. 

‘In such circumstances, police officers might bring people in under Section 136 for us to deal with at the City & Hackney Centre for Mental Health, but with the best will in the world, police officers are not trained mental health professionals. We want to avoid situations escalating and allow the police to get on with doing their job, and by having the Street Triage Team in place, our trained staff are able to go with the police and assess the situation on the spot, and make a decision in terms of what kind of support someone needs. It might mean we can signpost someone to services where they live, or get to the specialist professional that is needed fast, without people having to ricochet around different services, or deal with the stress of being in an Accident & Emergency room’, said Andrew Horobin, City & Hackney Service Manager for the Urgent Care/Specialist Teams.

The decision to embed a TV crew with a rapid response mental health team in the small hours during the party season at Christmas had to be carefully managed,  but the team’s Approved Mental health Practitioner Amanda Magnus and Mental Health Social Worker Helen-Mary Nunn were keen for it to happen: ‘The co-operative work that goes on between ourselves and the City of London police has had a really big impact in terms of making sure people get the right support at the right time, and is a very big improvement on what the situation was like before. I hope that if more people become aware of this service, it will become a model that can be applied in other parts of the city and across the whole country’, said Amanda.

Helen-Mary Nunn wore a body camera kit on the nights the BBC film crew accompanied her on her shifts across the City, but at all times Helen was in control of how close the film crew might engage with her while she attended to emergency call-outs. ‘The needs of the people I treat and work with are paramount at all times’, explained Helen.

BBC Inside Out London 11 February feature ‘Stress in the City’ can be viewed at 11.00 minutes – 19.00 minutes online and is available here.

An online documentary is also available on the BBC website, which explores the work the City & Hackney Street Triage Team in more depth, and is available here.