In Praise of Mental Health Cop

This morning I woke to the very surprising news that Mental Health Cop (also known as Inspector Michael Brown of the West Midlands Police) has closed down his blog, Twitter and Facebook page. I don’t know the reasons for this, and those who do know seem to be rather tight-lipped about it. I have noticed, however, that several other police tweeters have also closed their accounts.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael at the Mind Media Awards 2012, where he won the Mark Hanson Award for Digital Media, and interviewed him afterwards. We’ve also conversed online many times, and what’s frequently struck me is how dedicated he is to promoting better understanding of the intersection between mental health and policing. Over time, I’ve come to the view that I was speaking not only with an outstanding police officer, but also a genuinely nice guy. He has certainly challenged my stereotypes of police officers, and has consistently behaved as a credit to the ideals of policing.

Michael has since gone on to win other awards. At the This Week in Mentalists Awards 2012 for mental health blogging, he picked up Best Mental Health Not Otherwise Specified blog. In the #Twentalhealthawards he was runner-up in the Informative category in 2012. Then in 2013 he won Professional Not Otherwise Specified and was a runner-up in the Informative and Helpful categories.

In his online output he has been consistently informed, passionate and articulate. His blog in particular has been a valuable resource not only for frontline police officers and health workers, but also for mental health survivors and activists. If it has to remain offline, the loss will be huge.

As I stated earlier, I don’t know why Mental Health Cop has closed down. However, what I will say is that Inspector Brown has my respect and best wishes.

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Policing and Mental Health

[Guest Post by Mental Health Cop]

The police service is key to the delivery of effective community based mental health care. There is an inevitability of police officers being called to incidents involving service-users, carers and professionals because some will occur unpredictably and because a few involve responding to significant risks.

 A fact of law: it is the police who must take certain decisions and exercise certain functions required by the Mental Health Act 1983. It is a matter of ethics and law: that the police should support colleagues in the health & social care professions as they administer the Mental Health Act, in order to keep everyone safe as they do so. Continue reading