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Mental health crisis highlighted by officer rescuing same woman twice in one night


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Response sergeant 'scared' of what he may wake up to amid country's mental health crisis.

Mental health crisis highlighted by officer rescuing same women twice in one night

“I love my job and I love helping people but far too often I go to bed fearful of what news I might wake up to.” 

These are the words of an officer who had to assist the same suicidal women twice in one day.

On Friday night, Avon and Somerset Police Sergeant John Shaddick stopped a woman from jumping from the fourth floor of a building in Bristol.

He took her to hospital and waited whilst a mental health assessment was carried out. She was released after two hours.

Just 30 minutes later, Sgt Shaddick was again called to reports of a female about to attempt suicide, from the same floor of the same building. It was the same woman. 

The incident highlights the reality of what officers face up and down the country on a daily basis and how the NHS is buckling under pressure.

Sgt Shaddick took to Twitter after his nightshift to share his experience which has since gone viral with 1.7million views and 20,000 likes.


The popularity of the tweet has encouraged others to discuss the pressing topic, share their own personal experiences, and show support for the sergeant.




One woman suffering from depression spoke of her experience last year which saw her similarly turned away from A&E despite pleading for help.



Whilst others debated whether or not dealing with people with mental health issues is a job for officers.


In response to the publicity Sgt Shaddick wrote: “I've just awoken from my night shift to see how many responses there are to my tweet.

“Thank you to everyone for your comments and support. I love my job and I love helping people but far too often now I go to bed fearful of what news I might wake up to.

He added: “Mental health is an emotive subject and the politics around it should be discussed at length by others.

“I'll just continue to do my best.”

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II don't think that John Shaddick is alone in his experience. We/You are sadly let down by the NHS A & E unless they have a secure Mental Health ward when then you might, just might get assistance. We could not get assistance for one young man as he was discharged from A & E. He came to the station pleading for help and accommodation, he had committed no offence. A few minutes later the front window of the Nick went in with a brick and the young man (Eric) walked back in and admitted the damage. He went to Court the following morning, they decided to find him Not Guilty of damage but said they would bind him over for Breach of the Peace, he refused to be bound over, even they did so anyway, even though they only had the power if he agreed.  Eric was well known to the Social Services who put him in the "Too hard to deal with" tray. The following night Eric discarded all of his clothes and was running up the centre of the main road into town. He was arrested and brought in. The officers were sent to retrieve his clothing but, as it was near the homeless Night Shelter his clothing had already been distributed. The Hospital would not section him so he was taken before the Court the following morning and we heard nothing more.  Three months went by before I found out what had happened to him. I was watching a documentary on one of the channels about Mental Health and they interviewed Eric. He was in HMP Manchester serving his sentence which the Magistrates had given him. He should not have been there but, as the NHS let him down there appeared to be no alternative. He should not have been there.

He had been let down by the professionals, Social Services and the NHS Mental Health team. Goodness knows where he is now.

These cases are far too common, and bring shame on society, the NHS, and the system.

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I can recount times, Im sure I'm not alone, where police officers have spent whole shifts watching people who are suicidal - yet at the same time where custody is an inappropriate place for someone who is dealing with a mental health crisis. They can be turned away from hospitals or released hours later only to be found still in crisis. Yet if anything happens to that individual you can be sure that the headlines and subsequent coroners hearing will be pointing at 'police contact' and why more wasn't done to help them.


At the best of times you can be one of 15 to 20 polices officers on duty at a particular time for a local population verging in the region of 100,000 (surrounding areas another 110,000) with a rolling list of immediate and urgent calls - attending between 2-6 yourself and assisting others on top of that. Each job a priority in its own right. Yet you simply cannot spend your whole shift watching one person. But we do.


Worse still is when the other 'partners' work day finishes as our peak time arrives.







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The MH crisis is highlighted almost daily by people and agencies, left right and centre. 

And its going to get worse after the 11th next month. 

But there isn't any money. There is no more money coming. So things will continue to be the wrong side of ramshackle, people will be hurt and die. But that's it. The state of affairs. 

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It is a sad state of affairs really. The majority of the time it is an absolute disgrace the levels of ‘care’ that are in place for people with mental health issues or in mental health crisis.

I don’t really understand why the police took on so much responsibility in this regard. It seems an issue from many years ago which just became the norm.

Can you imagine us routinely going to jobs where people have acute physical conditions and then somehow trying to muddle through and giving advice to them? It’s absolute nonsense. 

We wouldn’t respond to people with cancer for example and then sit with the person for 6 hours awaiting a medical assessment and treatment, or let control know we are unavailable because we are asssting in an operating theatre because the NHS are ‘short staffed’, why on Earth then do we do this with someone who suffers from mental health conditions? 

I can totally understand if someone becomes violent/threatening to an ambulance crew however again we should simply be there to prevent a breach of the peace and allow Ambulance to act accordingly. Hospitals/MH units should have the required staffing to deal with this.

There needs to be a huge culture change as it does no good for the person suffering a mental health condition for uniformed police officers to be the ones dealing with it. It does more harm than good.

The issue is the culture change would require other services actually picking up the slack, this ultimately requires more staff and resources which means more money. 

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