A call for de-policing crisis responses: Distressed children and youth caught between the mental health and police systems

  • Maria Liegghio Associate Professor, School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Herberth Canas Research Associate, School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada; Research Associate, Shifting Ways
  • Alexis H. Truong Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, Faculty of School of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Salomi Williams BSW, Research Assistant, School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
Keywords: Collaboration, criminalization, policing, psychiatrization, stigmatization

Abstract

In this paper, we present the outcomes of a narrative study of 13 interviews with six child and youth mental health
practitioners and seven caregivers with a child between 12 and 24 years old involved with the mental health system and with a history of police involvement. The focus of the interviews was on the experiences of young people involved with the mental health system, and their caregivers, with police encounters. Two categories of themes emerged. Presented here are the outcomes that show the contradictions between the child and youth mental health and police systems as contributing factors to the stigmatization and criminalization of psychiatrically distressed children and youth. A call is made for a collaboration between the mental health and police systems rooted in a commitment for de-policing crisis responses in child and youth mental health.

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Author Biographies

Herberth Canas, Research Associate, School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada; Research Associate, Shifting Ways

Research Associate

Tel: 416-616-6064

Alexis H. Truong, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, Faculty of School of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Assistant Professor

Department of Criminology, Faculty of School of Social Sciences

University of Ottawa

Salomi Williams, BSW, Research Assistant, School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Research Assistant

School of Social Work, York University

Published
2021-03-19
How to Cite
Liegghio, M., Canas, H., Truong, A., & Williams, S. (2021). A call for de-policing crisis responses: Distressed children and youth caught between the mental health and police systems. Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being, 6(1), 28-34. https://doi.org/10.35502/jcswb.173
Section
Original Research