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WA co-response teams tackle mental health

AAP logoAAP 25/08/2016 Rebecca Gredley

Police and mental health co-response teams in WA have reduced mental health patients going to hospital by 80 per cent, as they are now being treated by clinicians in the community.

The co-response teams have attended 4500 incidents in Perth since the initiative began in December 2015.

The trial involves mental health clinicians working alongside police, to enhance the care of patients and to have fewer police officers transporting people to hospital.

Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said that mental health clinicians are the experts in dealing with patients where psychological wellbeing was an issue.

"They know what treatment they need and how to help de-escalate what can be very tense situations," she said.

In 2015 there were 17,498 police mental health call outs, compared to 4766 in 2007.

The state government allocated $6.5 million for the trial, which was developed by WA Police, the Mental Health Commission and the Department of Health.

The co-response trial has now expanded to cover more than 50 per cent of the Perth metropolitan area.

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