Examining the Effectiveness of Mental Health Education on Law Enforcement: Knowledge and Attitudes
This study examined the effectiveness of the mental health module of a basic law enforcement training program in increasing knowledge of symptoms of mental illness and reducing related biases in newly hired law enforcement officers. The training module was investigated through the administration of a general knowledge questionnaire mirroring the training material and the AQ-27—a tool that measures stigmatizing attitudes. The results of this study show that training regarding the symptoms of mental illness can increase a law enforcement officer’s general knowledge of psychological disorder and reduce bias against people with mental illness. The implications for the findings are that a mental health training module administered during basic law enforcement training should improve interactions between law enforcement and the diverse communities they serve by increasing knowledge and decreasing bias around mental illness.
KeywordsLaw enforcement Mental health training Attribution Questionnaire-27 Stigma
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Compton M, Esterberg M, McGee R, Kotwicki R, Olivia J (2006) Brief reports: crisis intervention team training: changes in knowledge, attitudes, and stigma related to schizophrenia. Psychiatr Serv 57(8):1199–1202Google Scholar
- Compton M, Demir N, Berivan N, Broussard B, Mcgriff J et al (2011) Use of force preferences and perceived effectiveness of actions among crisis intervention team (CIT) police officers and non-CIT officers in an escalating psychiatric crisis involving a subject with schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull 37(4):737–745Google Scholar
- Compton M, Bakeman R, Broussard B, Hankerson-Dyson D, Husbands L, Watson A (2014) The police-based crisis intervention team (CIT) model: effects on officers’ knowledge, attitudes and skills. Psychiatr Serv 65(4):517–522Google Scholar
- Corrigan P (2013) A toolkit for evaluating programs meant to erase the stigma of mental illness. National Consortium on stigma and empowerment. Found online at http://www.stigmaandempowerment.org/index.php/resources#Toolkit
- Department of Justice (n.d.) Special litigation section cases and matters: law enforcement agencies. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/crt/special-litigation-section-cases-and-matters0#police
- Engel RS, Silver E (2006) Policing mentally disordered suspects: a reexamination of the criminalization hypothesis. Criminology 39(2):225–252Google Scholar
- Gibb B (2014) Mental health first aid for public safety-three case studies. The Police Chief 81:56–59Google Scholar
- Hayes A, Krippendorf K (2007) Answering the call for a standard reliability measure for coding data. Commun Methods Meas 1(1):77–89Google Scholar
- Lamb H, Weinberger L, DeCuir W (2002) The police and mental health. Psychiatr Serv 53(10):1266–1271Google Scholar
- Steadman HJ, Deane MW, Borum R, Morrissey JP (2000) Comparing outcomes of major models of police responses to mental health emergencies. Psychiatr Serv 51(5):645–649Google Scholar
- Turnbaugh D (2014) Unlock the mystery of mental illness with CIT- a community approach to officer safety. The Police Chief 81(9)Google Scholar
- Wahl OF (1999) Mental health consumers’ experience of stigma. Schizophr Bull 25(3):467–478Google Scholar
- Watson A, Angell B (2013) The role of stigma and uncertainty in moderating the effect of procedural justice on cooperation and resistance in police encounters with person with mental illnesses. Psychol Public Policy Law 19(1):30–39Google Scholar