It is reported that around 61.5 million Americans will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime, and 3-6% of law enforcement encounters involve those with mental illness. That is anywhere from 184,500-369,000 people with mental illness that may encounter law enforcement. In 2016, 25% of those killed by police were linked to mental illness, and the numbers are only rising. It is important to consider if all mental health crisis encounters with law enforcement are dangerous. A simple answer is no, not all. Though, those with mental illness are disproportionately involved in critical police encounters including use of force, arrests, and police shootings. While Maine provides free crisis intervention training, not all police officers take advantage of this opportunity, and not all states provide this option. This puts Mainers with mental illness at a disproportionate risk that could be very well avoided.
Darge, Lauren, "Police Brutality Against Those With Mental Illness: How to Protect Maine's People" (2021). Student Scholarship. 75.