Royal spotlight on North-East scheme

The Duke of Cambridge at the National Mental Health and Policing Conference, in Oxford.
The Duke of Cambridge at the National Mental Health and Policing Conference, in Oxford.

A ground-breaking initiative to transform mental-health crisis responses developed by professionals in the North East was in the royal spotlight last week.

Respond, a simulation training package for professionals, was the focus of a workshop attended by the Duke of Cambridge at a conference in Oxford.

The Duke gave a short speech at the event highlighting the importance of mental health, before joining workshops with professionals who are pioneering change.

Respond was developed in the North East by professionals in mental-health crisis care, working closely with experts by experience, who have direct experience of using mental-health services. It simulates crisis scenarios using video and audio clips of real people with real experience of those situations.

It brings together all involved in supporting people in mental-health crisis – doctors, nurses, police, paramedics, mental-health workers and experts by experience – to explore their problem-solving skills, knowing that mistakes can be made without long-term consequences.

Inspector Steve Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “We have made huge strides in the way we deal with mental health in our region and Respond is a really innovative project. Every day our officers interact with vulnerable people who suffer incredibly complex mental-health issues and it’s vital that we understand how we can improve the way we engage with them.”