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Enhancing Police Response to Persons in Mental Health Crisis: Providing Strategies, Communication Techniques, and Crisis Intervention Preparation in Overcoming Institutional Challenges

NCJ Number
Don W. Castellano-Hoyt M.A.
Date Published
October 2003
309 pages
This book is written for law enforcement officers in the enhancement of strategies, communication techniques, and crisis intervention preparation when assessing the behavior of those persons considered mentally ill.
The public and its institutions continue to demand that law enforcement intervene with persons considered mentally ill by the mental profession. However, the laws enacted are unable to address the deeper philosophic and political controversies within the mental health profession regarding the reality of mental illness, its diagnosis, or its treatment. Officers are in need of a sense of appropriateness when assessing the behavior of someone deemed to be in a mental health crisis; and the sense of appropriateness needs to be grounded in a philosophic outlook that both makes sense and fits today’s pluralistic outlook on life and the Nation’s premise of the preciousness of civil liberty. This book is written to address these issues. The book is divided into three parts: (1) clinical issues; (2) mental heath from a nonclinical perspective; and (3) the national experience in legal terms. Part 1 presents the chapters dealing with assessment and intervention, including strategies, communication techniques, the ideas for overcoming institutional barriers to effective police intervention. Part 2 presents issues of mental health from a nonlegal perspective, and part 3 details the national experience in mental health in legal terms. Each chapter gives an introductory rationale about its usefulness to police. Appendices include the definitions of mental illness are given for each State, the legal provisions for emergency detention, and details of a three-fold division of States’ provisions for emergency detention.