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The thin blue line of mental health in Australia


Clifford, K, The thin blue line of mental health in Australia, Police Practice and Research, 11, (4) pp. 355-370. ISSN 1561-4263 (2010) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/15614263.2010.496561


While the shift from psychiatric custodial treatment and accommodation of mentally ill individuals to community living and community care may have been devised with good intentions, poorly implemented reforms have promulgated numerous deficiencies in Australia’s mental health system. Among these has been the troubling proportion of mentally ill individuals who have ‘fallen through the cracks’ into crisis as a consequence of a lack of access to services and care required. By virtue of the 24/7 nature of their work, Australian police officers have now become the primary, and often the only, responders to mental health crises in the community. The burden of filling these service gaps – often without the requisite knowledge, understanding, training, or resources to do so – has, at worst, culminated in the shooting deaths of a number of mentally ill individuals; resulting in long‐term traumatic impacts for both police and families associated with such events. More recently, initiatives have been developed to improve the capacity of police officers to respond effectively to mentally ill individuals, using less coercive methods of event resolution and interaction during mental health crisis interventions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mental illness, deinstitutionalisation, mental health crisis, mental health intervention, police shootings, lethal force
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Police administration, procedures and practice
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Clifford, K (Dr Katrina Clifford)
ID Code:81456
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2012-12-07
Last Modified:2015-01-12

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