Lifeline worried by rising mental health calls to police

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1 NEWS

Lifeline says it's concerned at reports of increased calls to police about mental health issues.

Jacinda Ardern today told Christchurch residents about the plans.

Source: 1 NEWS

The helpline says it should not be the role of police to support those in distress, only those at imminent risk of suicide.

Stuff reported at the weekend that police are struggling, with mental distress calls to them up 77 per cent between 2009 and 2016 and a 257 per cent increase in the Tasman district.

Lifeline said today it would like to be part of the solution with the police and mental health services.

But the organisation said it would be reliant on funding to be able to manage the increased load and ensure all people in need of support are able to get their needs met.

Lifeline says as a 24/7 helpline, it's there to support people in mental health crises and other forms of distress but it noticing a lack of ongoing, accessible support in their communities to prevent these crises from occurring again, and a lack of integration and information sharing between key services.

The helpline says when people call who have suicidal thoughts, unless there is imminent risk immediately apparent, it always works with the individual to assess the risk and develop a plan with them to secure their safety. 

Mental health crises are often deescalated at least in the short term with an empathetic and caring response, Lifeline said.

Lifeline said 75 per cent of people calling at risk of suicide do not require emergency services to be involved and in its experience, a police response can sometimes cause more distress when it is not the right service.

The helpline says it works with regular callers to develop consistent plans of support and safety, working closely with police and mental health services where required and with permission to provide an approach that works for all parties.

Where can I get support and help?

Need to talk? 1737 – Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Lifeline – 0800 543 354

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Healthline– 0800 611 116

Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or www.depression.org.nz

The Lowdown: A website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. www.thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

SPARX.org.nz Online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed

OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463 for support related to sexual orientation or gender identity

Need to talk? 1737 – Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Healthline – 0800 611 116
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or www.depression.org.nz
The Lowdown: A website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. www.thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626
SPARX.org.nz – Online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463 for support related to sexual orientation or gender identity

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