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Mental and behavioral health

Informing Department of Justice about necessary policing reforms

APA Services advocates for programs to help law enforcement respond to individuals with disabilities, and those in mental health crisis.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2022, October 4). Informing Department of Justice about necessary policing reforms.

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On September 30, APA participated in virtual roundtable hosted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) pertaining to President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety (Executive Order 14074, § 14(a)). The purpose of the meeting was to inform DOJ efforts to issue guidance on best practices for “responding to calls and interacting with persons in behavioral or mental health crisis or persons who have disabilities.” Specifically, topics addressed in the roundtable included alternative responder models (e.g., mobile crisis response teams, co-responder models), community-based crisis centers, post-crisis support services, and using Medicaid to support crisis response services. 

APA’s contributed recommendations called for under the association's Resolution on Psychology’s Role in Addressing the Impact of, and Change Required with Police Use of Excessive Force Against People of Color and Other Marginalized Communities in the United States (PDF, 212KB). The association advocated for further federal investment in mental health response/crisis intervention teams and urged DOJ to incentivize more mental health professionals to pursue careers in these types of community-based initiatives. Additionally, APA addressed the need to bolster community mental health resources and wraparound services to better meet the upstream challenges of individuals in mental health crisis. 

Other organizations participating at the invite-only event included the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Disability Rights Network among others. Following the meeting, APA's advocacy team will meet further with DOJ to discuss these topics in greater depth as well as closely monitor and comment on future guidance the department is planning to release.

For more information, contact Ben Vonachen, senior director congressional and federal relations.