The Police Response to Mental Illness on Campus

  • Margolis G
  • Shtull P
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Abstract

Campus police officers are often among the initial contacts for behavioral incidents involving people with mental illness. Their training and access to resources influence decisions to direct the individual to support services and/or through campus disciplinary processes and/or the criminal justice system. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the severity of mental health issues on campuses and an increased focus on mental health needs. Suicide, abuse of alcohol and drugs, and highly publicized incidents of violence with co-occurring mental illness have raised considerable concern on college campuses. This article explores the unique challenges these interactions pose for campus police officers, and their need for knowledge, skills, and training to recognize mental illness and effectively respond to it. The article discusses the need for appropriate dispatch protocols, increased training for police officers, and increased collaboration and partnerships between the police and stakeholders both on and off the campus. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Author-supplied keywords

  • campus law enforcement
  • campus mental health
  • campus police

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Authors

  • Gary J. Margolis

  • Penny R. Shtull

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