Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Repeated Police Mental Health Act Detentions in England and Wales: Trauma and Recurrent Suicidality

Version 1 : Received: 30 October 2019 / Approved: 31 October 2019 / Online: 31 October 2019 (16:48:30 CET)

How to cite: Warrington, C. Repeated Police Mental Health Act Detentions in England and Wales: Trauma and Recurrent Suicidality. Preprints 2019, 2019100377 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201910.0377.v1). Warrington, C. Repeated Police Mental Health Act Detentions in England and Wales: Trauma and Recurrent Suicidality. Preprints 2019, 2019100377 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201910.0377.v1).

Abstract

Most police Mental Health Act (Section 136) detentions in England and Wales relate to suicide prevention. Despite attempts to reduce detention rates, numbers have risen almost continually. Although Section 136 has been subject to much academic and public policy scrutiny, the topic of individuals being detained on multiple occasions remains under-researched and thus poorly understood. A mixed methods study combined six in-depth interviews with people who had experienced numerous suicidal crises and police intervention, with detailed police and mental health records. A national police survey provided wider context. Consultants with lived experience of complex mental health problems jointly analysed interviews. Repeated detention is a nationally recognised issue. In South East England it almost exclusively relates to suicide or self-harm and accounts for a third of all detentions. Females are detained with the highest frequencies. The qualitative accounts revealed complex histories of unresolved trauma that had catastrophically damaged interviewee’s relational foundations, rendering them disenfranchised from services and consigned to relying on police intervention in repeated suicidal crises. A model is proposed that offers a way to conceptualise the phenomenon of repeated detention, highlighting that long-term solutions to sustain change are imperative, as reactive-only responses can perpetuate crisis cycles.

Subject Areas

Police Mental Health Act; Section 136; repeated detention; suicide and suicide prevention; trauma; personality disorder; lived experience

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