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Increasing Police Mental Health Knowledge and Lowering Stigma of Individuals with Mental Illness

28 November 2017


This study examined the mental health training module of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training that all newly hired law enforcement officers complete. Following an earlier study (Wise, 2016), the purpose of this study was to determine if the addition of experiential learning to the mental health module would increase general knowledge about mental health symptoms, and if this increase would reduce stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with a mental illness. The results of this study indicate that the training received did significantly increase knowledge about mental health symptoms and significantly decreased stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with a mental illness. Although experiential learning was not the source of this increase in knowledge, it did contribute to the significant decrease in stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with mental illness. Despite the limitations of this investigation, mental health training can increase law enforcement mental health knowledge and lower their stigmatizing attitudes about mental illness, which may improve interactions between law enforcement and those experiencing mental health symptoms.


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