Youths’ and Young Adults’ Experiences of Police Involvement During Initiation of Involuntary Psychiatric Holds and Transport

Nev Jones, Becky Gius, Morgan Shields, Ana Florence, Shira Collings, Kelly Green, Amy Watson, Michelle Munson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past decade, police involvement in behavioral health crisis response has generated concern and controversy. Despite the salience and timeliness of this topic, the literature on service user experiences of interactions with officers is small and studies of youths and young adults are nonexistent. The authors aimed to investigate youths’ and young adults’ experiences of police involvement in involuntary psychiatric hold initiation and transport. In-depth interviews were conducted with 40 participants (ages 16–27) who had experienced an involuntary hold; the 28 participants who reported police involvement are the focus of this analysis. Data were inductively coded, and codes were grouped into larger themes. A majority of participants reported negative experiences; major themes characterizing negative encounters were the framing of distress as criminal or of intervention as disciplinary rather than therapeutic, perceived aggression and callousness from police officers, and poor communication. The authors also characterized the positive experiences of officer involvement reported by a minority of participants and youths’ perspectives on the degree of control officers could exert over initiation and transport decisions. Findings help center the voices of youths and young adults with mental health challenges and raise important questions about contemporary policies regarding police involvement in crisis response and, more broadly, about coercive responses to distress or emotional crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-917
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Youths’ and Young Adults’ Experiences of Police Involvement During Initiation of Involuntary Psychiatric Holds and Transport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this