When Police Are the Wrong First Responders

Police are not mental health professionals, but they have become the de facto first responders for mental health crises—with troubling consequences.

Officers spend some 60 hours learning to use guns but an average of just 8 hours of “Crisis Intervention Training.”

Yet a third of people brought to ERs in psychiatric distress are taken there by police, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center.
 
For many, the call to “defund the police” aims to address this disconnect—by redistributing police funding to mental health services better suited to de-escalate situations that have led to the criminalization of mental illness.  
 
VICE

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