“There have been two major breakthroughs in mental health policing in the last five years: Paul has led them both.” Matthew Lees, Department of Health
Paul is a specialist mental health sergeant with Hampshire Constabulary. In 2012, he led ‘Operation Serenity’, the UK’s first joint mental health and police ‘Street Triage’ response car. Since then, Paul has focussed on another problem: the small number of service users in every community struggling with complex mental health disorders. They will encounter emergency teams on a regular basis and often make limited clinical progress with mental health teams.
Paul developed SIM based on his theory that if a police officer was trained to understand and help manage high intensity behaviour, then a combination of clinical expertise, compassion and appropriate boundaries would help service users gather new momentum towards healthier and safer outcomes. Developed over the last three years, this new model of care has:
- Reduced frontline emergency costs by 90%
- Eliminated the use of mental health wards
- Helped service users rebuild relationships with loved ones
- Helped service users re-engage with their community and employment
- Helped service users to achieve medical discharge
It is estimated that the basic cost of a single highly intensive service user of police and ambulance response, emergency department attendances and mental health beds is at least £19,800 per year (if there is no specialist intervention) and that there could be as many as 3,400 service users needing this model of care across the UK at any one time; that’s a £67 million problem.
Paul intends to use his NIA Fellowship to develop a professional network across the UK so that more SIM teams are created, enabling this highly specialist area of work to be further professionalised. He is currently building www.highintensityonline.com, a specialist training portal so that SIM mentors can share data, train and develop together.
In October 2016, Paul’s team won the HRH Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care at the Nursing Times Awards and were ‘Highly Commended’ at the Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards.
Website: www.highintensityonline.com (Launching 2017)
Video pitch: Serenity Integrated Mentoring: Supporting and preventing high intensity mental health crisis