The Intersection of Law Enforcement, Mental Health, and Social Policy

Melissa Elliott, Suffolk University

ABSTRACT
Regardless of whether or not we choose to agree with the function of law enforcement officials as frontline professionals in the mental health field, it is a role they repeatedly find themselves fulfilling. Maintaining public safety may be especially challenging when responding to a scene involving a person with a mental health disorder. This is not because they are more violent or dangerous than those in the general population but because their difficulties interpreting their environment and articulating their feelings can lead to unpredictable responses. The intersection of law enforcement and menatl health demands special training of officials who will respond appropriately to preserve the welfare of the community.

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Updated 05/20/2006