Tell the NHS to Stop Putting Mentally Ill Children in Police Cells!

It is common protocol in the UK for police to place minors suffering from mental crises in holding cells for assessment. This sends the message that mental illness and the thoughts and actions stemming from them are on par with conscious criminal behavior. It also puts children with mental illnesses in a frightening and confusing place when they should be treated with the utmost care and understanding. 

Victoria Bleazard of Rethink Mental Illness says there are only 161 safe places for mentally ill patients in England. "That means that there simply aren't enough facilities available to meet the needs of people in crisis. Even worse, more than a third (35%) of those facilities do not accept young people under the age of 16, which is why children in crisis are being taken to police cells," Bleazard says.

If there aren't enough facilities for mental patients, the NHS must make it a priority to fund more. People with physical injuries would never be placed in police cells, and it should be the same for mental patients. Placing any person, let alone a child, in a police cell for having a mental crisis stigmatizes mental illness and sends the wrong message. Please sign the petition to urge the NHS to support better mental health care for children!

We, the undersigned, are concerned with the UK practice of placing minors suffering from mental crises in holding cells for assessment. This sends the message that mental illness and the thoughts and actions stemming from them are on par with conscious criminal behavior. It also puts children with mental illnesses in a frightening and confusing place when they should be treated with the utmost care and understanding. 


Victoria Bleazard of Rethink Mental Illness says there are only 161 safe places for mentally ill patients in England. "That means that there simply aren't enough facilities available to meet the needs of people in crisis. Even worse, more than a third (35%) of those facilities do not accept young people under the age of 16, which is why children in crisis are being taken to police cells," Bleazard says.


If there aren't enough facilities for mental patients, the NHS must make it a priority to fund more. People with physical injuries would never be placed in police cells, and it should be the same for mental patients. Placing any person, let alone a child, in a police cell for having a mental crisis stigmatizes mental illness and sends the wrong message. We respectfully urge you to support better mental health care for children. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider our petition.

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