Commenting on the concordat, Mental Health Network chief executive, Stephen Dalton said: “There is already a great deal of work underway in organisations right across the health sector to prevent mental health crises occurring and escalating, with clear plans for even closer working between partners to improve access to services and to meet local, individual needs.
“But the very nature of a mental health crisis means that a very vulnerable person needs a fast, individual, joined-up response.
“This is where the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat can really make a difference, as it sets out the clear commitment of all those involved in the mental health sector to improve support for people before, during and after a crisis.
‘Not just a piece of paper’
“It is not just a piece of paper; it’s a pledge to make things better in practice, and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network is proud to have signed it on behalf of all our members.”
Mr Dalton added that the network is pleased the police and the Royal College of GPs are reviewing their training programmes to improve understanding of mental health problems and to develop and deliver improved services.
“But all the will, awareness and training in the world won’t translate into real improvements in crisis care unless mental health is finally and genuinely put on a par with physical health,” he warned.
“It is critical that the Government’s and NHS’s commitment to address long-term under-funding of mental health services is delivered on, before the sector experiences an irreversible crisis itself.”