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24-hour hotline launched to help police support people in mental health crisis


An image of a man on the phone
Onur Binay | Unsplash

​ TL;DR

  • The hotline will provide rapid support to police officers attending mental health-related incidents.

  • The NHS Confederation welcomes the launch of the 24-hour mental health hotline for London police officers.

  • However, the Confederation warns that the Government must invest in mental health services to support the Right Care, Right Person approach.

The NHS Confederation has welcomed the launch of a 24-hour advice line to provide London police officers with rapid support from mental health specialists when they are attending mental health-related incidents.


This is a significant step forward in the Right Care, Right Person approach, which aims to ensure that people experiencing mental health crises are seen first by the most appropriate person to meet their needs.

Police officers are often the first responders to mental health incidents, but they may not have the necessary training or expertise to deal with these situations effectively. The hotline will provide them with access to rapid and expert advice from mental health specialists, which will help them to de-escalate situations and ensure that people in crisis receive the support they need.

The hotline is also intended to help reduce the number of people who are detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Section 136 allows the police to detain someone for up to 72 hours if they believe that they are a danger to themselves or others, or if they are unable to care for themselves.


However, detention under section 136 can be a traumatic experience, and it should only be used as a last resort. The hotline will help police officers to avoid detaining people unnecessarily, and instead connect them with appropriate mental health services.

Although a positive step toward enforcing the Right Care, Right Person approach, the NHS Confederation has warned that moving towards a more integrated approach to supporting mental health patients will require significant additional capacity in already stretched mental health services.

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