Deinstitutionalization, reduction of funding for mental health services, political shifts, and managed care constraints have had tremendous impact on people with mental illness. Law enforcement officers have become first responders to individuals experiencing extreme mental distress. This study investigated the challenges that law enforcement officers in Maine face while providing immediate services to individuals in emotional crisis. The research entailed interviewing members of various law enforcement departments throughout the State of Maine about their experiences involving individuals with mental illness and their experiences in bridging services with psychiatric and emergency centers. It also examined law enforcement officers' views of the contextual factors that may influence their own behaviors and actions in these situations. Data was gathered through individual one-on-one interviews and analyzed by comparing and contrasting information through identified themes. The findings revealed general dissatisfaction with the legal and mental health system, a perceived lack of available resources, and barriers officers face while on duty as a result of both. The officers discussed personal experiences which enhanced the depth of the study, enriched their personal meaning of their experiences, and raised awareness of the social justice problems currently facing mental health care consumers. Officers provide suggestions for systemic changes to ease their efforts in helping individuals with mental illness.
|Commitee:||Ossege, Jennifer, Scott, Jennifer|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Behavioral psychology, Social psychology, Clinical psychology, Criminology|
|Keywords:||CIT, Criminalization, Law enforcement, Maine, Mental health services, Mental illness, Police, Training|
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