Health experts have said that a £150,000 refurbishment of a facility in Lincoln will significantly reduce the risk of mental health sufferers being taken into police custody.
The Section 136 Suite at the Peter Hodgkinson Centre run by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust opened in 2012, but the facilities were small and not fit for purpose.
Subsequently the trust has invested £150,000 to expand and improve the existing facility to provide two new rooms in a dedicated space for assessment.
The suite provides a facility for adults and young people found by Lincolnshire Police in a public place who are suffering from mental health problems and allows them to be assessed in an appropriate environment, rather than a police cell.
Individuals are assessed under section 136 of the Mental Health Act by a doctor and approved mental health professional who then determine the next course of action.
An assessment is usually undertaken between two to four hours after someone arrives and then individuals are either sent home, possibly for home treatment or admitted to the wards at Peter Hodgkinson Centre.
Anita Lewin, Quality Lead for Adult Mental Health Inpatient services, said: “It is important that people assessed under Section 136 are supported in a suitable environment and seen by mental health professionals.
“The suite at PHC is more appropriate than a police station and will ensure that as far as possible no one suffering with acute mental health problems will be held in police cells as a place of safety.”