A vibrantly decorated custody suite is helping young people and adults, who have come into contact with police, to open up about their mental health challenges.
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's Liaison and Diversion Service have redesigned a custody room at Weekly Woods Justice Centre, in Kettering, to help support people with their mental health and vulnerabilities during the custody process.
Whilst there are many challenges when working in police custody, it is sometimes difficult for young people to engage and open up about their challenges, potentially due to the liaison and diversion team being associated with the police. The team have been working hard to try and overcome this and have been looking at the environment where those custody are seen.
The redecorated, bright space – which was designed following feedback from a young person with lived experience – aims to help create a comfortable place where people are able to open up about their mental health and life struggles, which have perhaps contributed to them being in police custody.
The trauma-informed approach, extends the TIC TAC (Trauma Informed Custody Suites for Trauma Affected Children) project for which the service and Northants Police won the Seni Lewis Award in 2022.
Trauma-informed practice is an approach to health and care interventions which is grounded in the understanding that trauma exposure can impact an individual’s neurological, biological, psychological and social development. Becoming trauma-informed can help individuals to feel safe enough in their interactions with services to build trust, and overcome barriers to develop an effective helping relationship.
Rachael Blundred, Team Leader of NHFT's Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Team, said: “The room has been very effective so far and there has been good feedback from both the police andservice users, the team are very proud of what that have been able to achieve. A special thank you to Hannah Tilley and Paige Salter, Liaison and Diversion Practitioners, for their planning, art and innovation with this part of the project.”
The new-look room has been so successful that the team is now planning to recreate the same environment in the Criminal Justice Centre, in Brackmills, Northampton.
Pictured top – Paige Salter helping create some of the vibrant artwork at the Weekly Woods Justice Centre the custody suite