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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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Use of Force against Minorities Suffering From Signs of Mental Illness (Essay Sample)

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The use of force against minorities suffering from mental illness is an essential topic in the criminal justice system. The significant number of people with psychiatric needs means that police officers are the first responders to mental health crises. However, a lot of the law enforcement officials rely on the same strategies that they use on the general population when interacting with individuals undergoing mental turmoil leading to violence, injury, or even death. Therefore, it is vital to train law enforcement officers, implement Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), and adopt a holistic approach when dealing with minorities with mental illness.

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Use of Force against Minorities Suffering From Signs of Mental Illness
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Use of Force against Minorities suffering from Signs of Mental Illness
The use of force against minorities suffering from mental illness is an essential topic in the criminal justice system. The significant number of people with psychiatric needs means that police officers are the first responders to mental health crises. However, a lot of the law enforcement officials rely on the same strategies that they use on the general population when interacting with individuals undergoing mental turmoil leading to violence, injury, or even death. Therefore, it is vital to train law enforcement officers, implement Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), and adopt a holistic approach when dealing with minorities with mental illness.
It is critical to train law enforcement officers to deal with minorities suffering from mental illness. Current, a lot of such patients have been returned to their communities increasing their interactions with the police. However, a majority of the officials are not equipped adequately to deal with minorities suffering from mental health (Morabito et al., 2012). As a result, police officers respond in a similar way to the general population. When the law enforcement officers do not get the compliance that they require, the situations can escalate to violence or injury (Morabito et al., 2012). Therefore, it is necessary to train police officers on secure ways of approaching the patients to prevent such adverse outcomes.
The police department should embrace Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) in the workplace. These programs identify trained officers to provide a first-line response to situations involving patients with mental illness (Engel & Silver, 2001). Also, a CIT also partners with local advocacy groups and providers to address the needs of this unique group. Some studies have concluded that CIT programs improve the officers’ ability to deal and safely interact with persons with mental illness (Engel & Silver, 2001). Besides, some surveys have shown that implementing CIT programs is inversely proportional to the force used by authorities (Engel & Silver, 2001). Therefore, a police department will benefit from the use of CIT programs when dealing with persons with mental illness.
Integrating mental health services with law enforcement is necessary for a police department. Currently, hospitals, jails, mental health department, and police work separately. Thus, minorities with mental illness move from one agency to the other without getting better (Snyder, 2016). However, combining the different agencies would reduce the police force against minorities and help them get better at the same time. For example, the San Antonio City has implemented a successful holistic system that combines an inpatient psychiatric unit, substance abuse counseling, job training, and housing for mental illness patients (Snyder, 2016). The approach has reduced the number of the individuals who are jailed while improving the response of police officers. Thus, other law enforcement departments should consider adopting a holistic approach when responding to incidences involving minorities suffering from mental illness.
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