Limited empirical data and research exists about stigmatizing attitudes and perceptions held by law enforcement officers towards persons with mental illness and substance use issues. Pre- and post-training survey data from 92 law enforcement personnel who attended a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training was used to investigate training-related changes in mental illness stigma and substance use stigma. Training participant’s mean age was 38.35 ± 9.50 years, majority white non-Hispanic race/ethnicity (84.2%), male gender (65.2%), and reported job category as road patrol (86.9%). Pre-training, 76.1% endorsed at least one stigmatizing attitude towards people with mental illness, and 83.7% held a stigmatizing attitude towards those with substance use problems. Poisson regression revealed that working road patrol (RR=0.49, p<0.05), awareness of community resources (RR=0.66, p<0.05), and higher levels of self-efficacy (RR=0.92, p<0.05) were associated with lower mental illness stigma pre-training. Knowledge of communication strategies (RR=0.65, p<0.05) was associated with lower pre-training substance use stigma. Post-training, improvement in knowledge of community resources and increases in self-efficacy were significantly associated with decreases in both mental illness and substance use stigma. These findings highlight the existence of stigma related to both mental illness and substance use pre-training suggesting the need for implicit and explicit bias training prior to the start of active law enforcement duty. These data are consistent with prior reports indicating CIT trainings as a path to address mental illness and substance use stigma. Further research on effects of stigmatizing attitudes and additional stigma-specific training content is warranted.
Gilbert A. Nick, Sharifa Williams, Helen-Maria Lekas, Kerstin Pahl, Chloe Blau, Don Kamin, Crystal Fuller-Lewis (2022) .Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and impact on mental illness and substance use-related stigma among law enforcement, Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, Volume 5, 2022, 100099, ISSN 2772-7246, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dadr.2022.100099.