The new scheme, being started by Lancashire Police today, will see officers work with NHS mental health nurses when called out to emergencies.
From August, nurses will also work in the force control room to help as 999 calls come in to advise those ringing with problems related to mental health issues reports MEN.
The scheme is being launched because nearly a quarter of all incidents attended by Lancashire Police are related to or caused by a mental health issue.
It is hoped that by having mental health nurses present, people in crisis can get the help they need immediately, rather than being taken to a police station or a hospital.
Having mental health nurses working with police officers has has already proved successful in Cheshire, which has seen a 90% fall in Section 136 Mental Health Act police detentions.
Lancashire Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates said: “We receive all sorts of calls where mental health is a factor, from those just calling for someone to speak to because they are lonely and depressed, to people threatening to commit suicide.
“This scheme is about taking action and supporting people at the earliest opportunity to prevent problems rather than responding to them.
“It means that individuals and families receive the most appropriate, quality support to ultimately build social resilience and create thriving communities.
“A quarter of the incidents that we deal with have some sort of related, and often complex, mental health issues attached and so the Mental Health Response Service will allow us to get upstream in helping those people to get the right response and support at first contact.
“Therefore individuals are less likely to enter the criminal justice system and less likely to need the services of police and other agencies, helping to reduce demand on all frontline services.”
The initiative in Lancashire has been funded by Blackburn with Darwen and Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and the police innovation fund (PIF) with mental health nurses from Lancashire Care Foundation Trust.