A health trust which provides mental health services for people in Hartlepool has been given £674,000 of Government money to support those in crisis.
The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust is one of 41 projects nationally to benefit in the first wave of a £15 million Department of Health pot.
The police should never be the default response for someone experiencing a mental health crisisHome Secretary Amber Rudd
The first round of funding has been awarded to 15 NHS trusts and partnership organisations covering ten police force areas where the use of police cells as a place of safety has previously been amongst the highest.
The money will be used to fund a mental health urgent care base covering Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar, Cleveland and Stockton to increase capacity and prevent people in need of help being locked up in police cells.
In 2014-15, Cleveland Police used cells to keep vulnerable people safe on 119 occasions.
But the force has been a pioneer for a street triage scheme where they contact a team of mental health nurses out of hours for people they believe has mental health issues so they can get the help they need more quickly.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We have seen good progress on our manifesto commitment to reduce the use of cells, with numbers dropping by 32 per cent across England and Wales in just one year.
“But there is still more to do, and the 41 projects announced today will provide vital facilities for those in crisis to ensure they get the compassionate care and support they need.
“The police should never be the default response for someone experiencing a mental health crisis.”