SAPOL mental health co-response project


The Mental Health Division of South Australia Police and North Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) has started a 12-month trial in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

The Mental Health Co-Response program sees an experienced mental health clinician working alongside the police responding to calls to provide expert assessment and advice where mental health might be a factor.

Starting today, the team will operate seven days a week, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Metropolitan Operations Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval said the mobile team will support frontline policing operations, providing a new approach to helping community members who are suffering from mental distress.

“A large number of service calls received by SAPOL are for people with mental health issues and require a medical or social response,” said Assistant Commissioner Duval.

“An integrated response between SAPOL and NALHN will provide the opportunity to achieve the best possible outcome for community safety and for vulnerable people suffering from a mental health crisis.”

Dianne Callahan, director of the mental health nursing division, hosted the program.

“The trial aims to provide earlier and improved access to mental health assessments, treatment and support for people in mental health crisis during incidents witnessed by the police.

“Improving collaboration between the police, mental health services and other agencies involved in the management of mental health incidents will help people access the pathway that best suits their individual needs.

“This provides better opportunities for early intervention and diversion from the criminal justice system to the health system or support networks.”

The team is stationed at the Elizabeth Police Complex and will include a uniformed police officer with operational gear working with the mental health clinician in plainclothes, the team will travel in an unmarked vehicle. Jess and Scott (pictured) are part of the newly formed teams.

Jess of NALHN Mental Health Services said, “It’s about working collaboratively and using our skills in new ways to achieve more positive community outcomes.”

“I look forward to helping people in the community by connecting them more effectively with services that are tailored to their needs,” said Constable Scott.


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