PEOPLE who have experienced mental health issues where the police were involved are invited to take part in a live webchat this evening.
The webchat, between 6pm and 7pm, is being hosted by Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes to support and raise awareness around mental health and wellbeing issues during National Mental Health Awareness Week.
The week-long national event is focusing on anxiety, as it can be a symptom of the onset of wider mental health issues.
Mr Hayes said: “It affects around one in six people in the UK, 1 in 4 of whom will suffer from anxiety or depression.
“It is essential that we recognise that people with mental health issues are more vulnerable to being victims of crime as well as, potentially, being the perpetrators.”
Since taking up his role as Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012, Mr Hayes has already raised concerns about the treatment of mental health patients arrested under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and the lack of adequate places of safety available to them. Mr Hayes has also funded the extension of two pilot schemes under the banner of Operation Serenity, where mental health professionals work alongside police officers responding to reports involving people experiencing mental health concerns.
Mr Hayes said: “Through this webchat, I would like to hear from members of the public who have experience of mental health issues, directly or indirectly, where there was police involvement and how they were supported.”
To participate in the webchat go to www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/Get-Involved/ONLINE-WEB-CHAT.aspx