Examining the Effectiveness of Mental Health Education on Law Enforcement: Knowledge and Attitudes

Abstract

This study examined the effectiveness of the mental health module of a basic law enforcement training program in increasing knowledge of symptoms of mental illness and reducing related biases in newly hired law enforcement officers. The training module was investigated through the administration of a general knowledge questionnaire mirroring the training material and the AQ-27—a tool that measures stigmatizing attitudes. The results of this study show that training regarding the symptoms of mental illness can increase a law enforcement officer’s general knowledge of psychological disorder and reduce bias against people with mental illness. The implications for the findings are that a mental health training module administered during basic law enforcement training should improve interactions between law enforcement and the diverse communities they serve by increasing knowledge and decreasing bias around mental illness.

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Correspondence to Megan Wise.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Wise, M., Christiansen, L. & Stewart, C. Examining the Effectiveness of Mental Health Education on Law Enforcement: Knowledge and Attitudes. J Police Crim Psych 36, 49–55 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-019-09319-4

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Keywords

  • Law enforcement
  • Mental health training
  • Attribution Questionnaire-27
  • Stigma