Criminalising Distress report launch

Friday 26th April @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

We’re excited to invite you to the launch of our latest report Criminalising Distress.

This is the culmination of an eighteen month primary research project conducted by Research Manager Hil Aked and the members of the Medact Research Network  exploring the Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) model and exposing ongoing SIM-like practices. 

Speakers will include Dr Jay Watts, former members of the Stop SIM coalition, Medact Research Network member Avani Ela and others to be confirmed. This event is taking place on Zoom, not hybrid as previously advertised.

We will not have the final report ready due to unforeseen delays, but are pleased to share a preview of its findings.

What was SIM? Has the criminalisation of distress ended?

SIM was a model which embedded police officers into community mental health teams, purportedly to “mentor” so-called “high intensity users” — often women who had experienced trauma, were at high risk of self harm or suicide, and had been diagnosed with BPD.

Following a campaign by lived experienced-led group StopSIM in 2021, NHS England told trusts to review the model. In March 2023, it said the model should end, but did not publish a policy it co-produced with StopSIM or apologise for its own role promoting SIM originally.

Our report amplifies the voices of those most impacted by SIM and SIM-like practices. Former members of the StopSIM coalition acted as a steering committee for the project, which sheds new light on the origins and impacts of SIM, highlights the dire lack of institutional accountability and examines a range of possible alternatives. 

Critically, we also expose ongoing practices which continue to criminalise distress in similar ways, albeit under different names. Come and learn about our findings, and what panellists believe needs to happen to challenge the criminalisation of distress and the securitisation of mental health.

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has supported this work in recognition of the importance of the issue. The facts presented and the views expressed in this report are, however, those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Trust. www.jrrt.org.uk