Cairns Mental Health Co‐Responder Project: essential elements and challenges to programme implementation

Robertson, Jan, Fitts, Michelle S., Petrucci, Joe, McKay, Donni, Hubble, Gary, and Clough, Alan R. (2020) Cairns Mental Health Co‐Responder Project: essential elements and challenges to programme implementation. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 29 (3). pp. 450-459.

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In Australia and internationally, co‐responder models are becoming an increasingly common intervention to respond to police callouts where there is an assumed mental health‐related component or crisis. This type of model involves a collaborative approach where trained police officers team with mental health clinicians to provide specialized responses in order to improve outcomes for persons with mental illness. However, there is limited understanding as to major elements required for implementation of the model. This study aims to identify the essential elements and challenges in implementation of the Mental Health Co‐Responder Project in Cairns, Australia, where the team consists of a mental health nurse with demonstrated competencies in crisis intervention and a specially trained police officer. In 2016, 39 participants completed semi‐structured interviews regarding knowledge and experience of the Cairns co‐responder model. The participants represented first responders and community‐based service providers who work with and support persons living with mental illness. Using a thematic analysis approach, key elements identified as essential to successful project implementation were as follows:

-co‐responder team characteristics,

-senior and project executive level support

-collaborative project governance, and

-co‐location of the team within a mental health setting.

The main perceived challenges to project implementation included the following: initial concerns regarding client confidentiality, lack of an evaluation plan, and adequate project resourcing. Governance through a vigorous joint agency operation committee and adequate resourcing is imperative to the sustainability of this model.

Item ID: 67549
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1447-0349
Keywords: co-responder model, law enforcement, mental health, police and mental health.
Copyright Information: © 2019 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 01:05
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420503 Community and primary care @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420504 Mental health nursing @ 50%
SEO Codes: 21 INDIGENOUS > 2103 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health > 210399 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200305 Mental health services @ 50%
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