An Exploration of Mental Health Triage and Support in the Criminal Justice System: Attitudes and Experiences of Professionals Supporting People with Mental Health Needs
A review of existing literature shows that there is a lack of research regarding\ud appropriate adult schemes for vulnerable adults in England and Wales. Little is\ud known about how appropriate adults construct and understand their role. Given\ud this, the present study aimed to explore ‘professional’ appropriate adults’\ud accounts of working to support adults with mental health needs during their time\ud in police custody. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine\ud ‘professional’ appropriate adults attending police custody settings to support\ud adults identified as mentally vulnerable according to the Police and Criminal\ud Evidence Act (1984).\ud A grounded theory method was used to collect and analyse the data. The core\ud concept generated in the analysis was that appropriate adults ‘construct and\ud manage multiple identities’ when working in their role. There were four\ud categories identified as being part of this process: ‘what is PACE?’; ‘in\ud negotiation with the police’; ‘in negotiation with the clients’ and ‘my appropriate\ud adult scheme’. A complex negotiation and dynamic understanding of each\ud category influenced participants’ construction of their identities as an\ud appropriate adult, and how they went about carrying out their work. The findings\ud are discussed, and recommendations for training, policy review and further\ud research are outlined.
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