A new report on alternative solutions to what gets called “serious youth violence”, published today, contains a chapter by NSUN on violence, harm, and police involvement in mental health services, with a call for community-led care to be resourced.
‘Holding Our Own: a guide to non-policing solutions to serious youth violence’ is the result of a collaboration with grassroots groups and campaigning organisations working across human rights, youth safety and racial justice. It’s a call for a new approach to tackling serious youth violence focused on moving away from punitive responses and instead towards investing in community-led solutions.
NSUN worked with Liberty, Northern Police Monitoring Project, Release, No More Exclusions, INQUEST, Maslaha, Kids of Colour, Art Against Knives, and JENGbA to create the report. The report explores the impact of government neglect on communities, focussing on young people, and discusses the need to roll back police powers, which have been extended to tackle the “symptoms” (rather than the causes, such as austerity and cuts to youth services and support) of social problems.
Often, we see calls for the increased funding of mental health services as something that could help tackle the root causes of violence. But NSUN’s chapter looks at the ways in which traditional mental health services can be places where people face violence and harm through coercion, restrictive practice, and police involvement. We call for resourced community-based approaches to mental health support, including investment in user-led mental health organisations, so that people in distress can be supported in ways that prioritise care, choice, and freedom.