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A Scoping Review of Police Involvement in School Crisis Response for Mental Health Emergencies

Choi KR, O'Malley C, Ijadi-Maghsoodi R, Tascione E, Bath E, Zima BT. A Scoping Review of Police Involvement in School Crisis Response for Mental Health Emergencies. School Mental Health. 2021 Sep 30;

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The purpose of this scoping literature review was to examine research on police involvement in school mental health crisis response. The search was conducted in PsychInfo, PubMed, and ERIC and initially identified 315 articles. After applying inclusion/exclusion criteria, 47 articles remained. Detailed review and data extraction by three independent reviewers resulted in a final article count of nine. Three primary themes were identified across articles: (1) perceptions and consequences of law enforcement presence in schools; (2) the role of school-community partnerships in successful crisis response models; and (3) gaps in research and challenges of implementing and scaling existing models. Though in practice law enforcement officers are often involved in school mental health crisis response, there is limited empirical research supporting this approach. Our review did not return any randomized trials. In the absence of empirical evidence supporting the use of current models, there is a need for research on law enforcement involvement in school crisis response and, more broadly, community-partnered models of responding to student mental health needs.

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