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Spending a night in the cells, to raise awareness of mental health issues

Ville (1)

Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for people with Mental Health issues. It can be stressful, and a time when feelings of loneliness and isolation are made worse. Durham Constabulary has taken the decision to ensure that no young person with a mental illness is taken to a police station as a Place of Safety and that a police station is only used in exceptional circumstances in the case of adults.

In order to highlight these issues, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, has agreed to open the cells at Consett Police Station to charity workers who support people with mental health problems. Each person will be locked in the cell at 9pm on Wednesday 21 December, and ‘released’ at 7.00am.  They are asking people to sponsor them for doing this.

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington said: “Police custody is not an appropriate environment for people in a mental health crisis. This can worsen their experience and heighten their vulnerability. Therefore we need to ensure that our most vulnerable people have access to appropriate support at the earliest opportunity. I am pleased that this important issue is being highlighted at this time of year.”

What: You are invited to the talk to the ‘cell-mates’ at 7.15am and find out what motivated them to spend a night in the cells. They will be able to talk about the importance of promoting mental health at this time of year, and also about how they found the experience of sleeping in a Police cell. Photograph and interview opportunities will be available.

Where: Consett Police Station, Parliament Street, Consett DH8 5DL

When: 7.15 am on Thursday 22 December 2016

Who: Photographs and interviews will be available with:

    • Ron Hogg - Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner
    • Young Minds -a national charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people
    • If U Care Share Foundation -a regional charity committed to prevention, intervention and support for those bereaved by suicide
    • Consett & District YMCA – supporting Bright Red, a northern charity which aims to improve lives and treatment of people with blood cancer across the north of England by providing one off monetary awards to patients in need of assistance
    • Walking with the Wounded –The charity’sProject Nova identifies and supports those veterans caught up in a cycle of anti-social and criminal activity, to prevent further downward spiral and continued offending by supporting them back into mainstream society and long term employment.
    • Independent Custody Visiting Association – A PCVC run initiative whereby local members of the community observe, comment and report on the conditions under which people are detained.

Note: Please confirm that you will be attending by contacting Nyama Johnson at: nyama.johnson@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk, or call: 07814 174417, by 12 noon on Wednesday 21 December 2016.

Posted on Monday 19th December 2016
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