DEFENDANTS in North Yorkshire will get mental health advice and support under a new joint NHS and addiction rehabilitation service.

More than 100 people from across the county attended the launch of the liaison and diversion service, including Lord Bradley, who holds a postgraduate degree from the University of York.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, (TEWV) which provides mental health and learning disabilities services for York and North Yorkshire, has paired up with the organisation that provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in North Yorkshire, Humankind and Spectrum Community Health CIC.

Together they hope to identify defendants with mental health vulnerabilities soon after they start going through the criminal justice system and ensure they get the right support.

They also hope to direct them to services that could help them reduce or stop their offending.

Lord Bradley said “I’m delighted that this new service for North Yorkshire has now been launched as we approach 100 per cent coverage of the country for such services. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the new staff and look forward to supporting them in the future.”

Helen Marriott, health and justice community services manager for TEWV said: “Our existing liaison and diversion services in other areas of our Trust work really well and have made a significant difference for those going through the criminal justice system that have mental health or learning disability needs.

"We are sure that the North Yorkshire service will have an equal impact for people in the local area.”