This article evaluates a community-based, peer support program in which police officers and mental health workers collaboratively address citizens’ mental health needs following encounters with law enforcement. We analyzed data 12, 24, and 36 months after a police-abated mental health crisis for 775 individuals, some of whom were referred to this program. Using lagged regression models, we find that compared with nonreferred individuals, referred participants generated fewer mental health calls for service and were less likely to be taken into emergency protective custody 24 and 36 months after a crisis. We found no difference in arrest rates. The program was especially effective for individuals with lengthier mental health histories. This free, voluntary, and nonclinical assistance program appears effective, but it also requires 12 to 24 months before participants and communities reap the benefits.
Luke A. Bonkiewicz, Kasey Moyer, Chad Magdanz, John Walsh
Police Quarterly, June 20, 2018