Law enforcement officers commonly serve as first responders to mental health crises. However, police are not formally trained to recognize, assess and treat mental illness. Crisis intervention team programs create linkages between law enforcement, mental health clinicians, and people with serious mental illnesses to help improve outcomes from encounters between law enforcement officers and people with serious mental illnesses. While the evidence base supporting these models is still limited, studies suggest that these approaches can increase rates of referral to mental health services, improve attitudes of law enforcement towards individuals encountered with mental illness, and enhance potential diffusion of benefit to non‐Crisis Intervention Trained officers regarding knowledge of mental health. Clinics should work to develop relationships with local law enforcement to institute these models for people with serious mental illness in acute crisis.
Kane, E., Evans, E., Shokraneh, F. (2018). Effectiveness of current policing-related mental health interventions: A systematic review. Crim Behav Ment Health, 28(2), 108-119. doi: 10.1002/cbm.2058. Epub 2017 Oct 19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29052275