DOI: https://doi.org/10.36315/2021inpact059May 13, 2021Proceedings Paper

POLICE OFFICERS' KNOWLEDGE OF, AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS, MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE MENTALLY ILL INDIVIDUALS

Bryan GereSharo Shafaie

Abstract

"Police officers are some of the first professionals that might have direct interaction with individuals with mental illnesses. Statistics show that from 2017 to 2020 about 3986 individuals in the United States were fatally shot by police officers (Statista, 2021). These reports indicate that at least 25% and as many as 50% of all fatal shootings involved individuals with untreated severe mental illness. The purpose of this pilot study was to test the effectiveness of a five-day psycho-educational mental health awareness training in enhancing law enforcement officers’ knowledge about mental illness, and their perceptions towards mentally ill individuals using a pretest-posttest design. The Community Attitudes Towards the Mentally Ill (CAMI) scale was used to measure participants’four mental health attitudinal domains - authoritarianism, benevolence, social restrictiveness, and community mental health ideology. The results indicate that at the completion of the training there was an increase in participants’ confidence about their knowledge of the mentally ill individuals and mental illness conditions. However, the results also indicate a slight decrease in participants' mental illness social restrictiveness sentiment after the ...Continue Reading

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