Human Rights and Policy: Improving Responses to Mental Health Crises: A Brief Review and Next Steps
The last year has seen increased publicity regarding how to improve community responses, especially to mental health crises, by law enforcement. Historically, law enforcement officers have been the primary responders to mental health crises (Kisley et al., 2010), and research within the United States suggests that one in ten individuals with mental illness encounter police prior to receiving mental health care (Livingston, 2016). Furthermore, as many as 20% of police calls involve individuals with mental illness (Livingston, 2016). The Treatment Advocacy Center (2015) reported that 25% of deaths from police shootings involve individuals with mental illness, and 20% of police officers’ time is spent responding to mental health crises. Since 2015, over 1,400 individuals with mental illness have been fatally shot by police, according to the Washington Post
, n.d.). Over the last 30 years, several approaches have been developed and used worldwide to improve community response to psychiatric crises.