Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences


Public Health


Over the last 3 decades, efforts to improve interactions between law enforcement and mentally ill individuals has resulted in several training programs for police officers with the goal of reducing the risk of violent altercations and incarceration and instead, seeking to connect this population to the resources they need. Despite widespread mental health training for police officers, people suffering from mental illness were found to be 16 times more likely to be met with excessive force resulting in injury or death when police officers responded to a 911 call. The review will investigate the largest mental health training program called the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) and discuss its goals, utilization, and explore where there may be room for improvement. There is a substantial amount of literature discussing the effectiveness and revision of CIT but not a lot of literature about alternatives to police response to mental health-related 911 calls. This review will feature recent altercations to showcase the struggles that officers have in deescalating these situations thus, making the discourse surrounding alternative programs that avoid the presence of law enforcement when dealing with such calls, a necessary one. Lastly, the review will highlight current legislative conversations occurring to fund these programs that aim to employ social workers and mental health professionals as first-responders to mental health crisis-related calls.

Included in

Public Health Commons