Using simulation to educate police about mental illness: A collaborative initiative

Wendy Stanyon, Bill Goodman, Marjory Whitehouse


Abstract

Mental illness is a major public health concern in Canada and also globally. According to the World Health Organization, five of the top ten disabilities worldwide are mental health disorders. Within Canada, one in five individuals is living with mental illness each year. Currently, there are 6.7 million Canadians living with mental illness and over 1 million Canadian youth living with mental illness. Police are frequently the first responders to situations in the community involving people with mental illness, and police services are increasingly aware of the need to provide officers with additional training and strategies for effectively interacting with these citizens.

This study examined the effectiveness of four online, interactive video-based simulations designed to educate police officers about mental illness and strategies for interacting with people with mental illness. The simulations were created through the efforts of a unique partnership involving a police service, a mental health facility and two postsecondary institutions. Frontline police officers from Ontario were divided into one of three groups (simulation, face to face, control). Using a pre- and post-test questionnaire, the groups were compared on their level of knowledge and understanding of mental illness. In addition, focus groups explored the impact of the simulations on officers’ level of confidence in engaging with individuals with mental illness and officers’ perceptions of the simulations’ ease of use and level of realism. The study’s findings determined that the simulations were just as effective as face-to-face learning, and the officers reported the simulations were easy to use and reflected real-life scenarios they had encountered on the job. As mental health continues to be a major public concern, not only in Canada but also globally, interactive simulations may provide an effective and affordable education resource not only for police officers but for other professionals seeking increased knowledge and skills in interacting with citizens with mental illness.

Keywords: policing, mental illness, education, computer-based simulation

Full Text

PDF

References

Abdelaziz, M, Samer Kamel, S, Karam, O & Abdelrahman, A 2011, 'Evaluation of e-learning program versus traditional lecture instruction for undergraduate nursing students in a faculty of nursing', Teaching and Learning in Nursing, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 50–58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.teln.2010.10.003

Adler, M, Vozenilek, J, Trainor, J, Eppich, W, Wang, E, Beaumont, J & McGaghie, W 2009, 'Development and evaluation of a simulation-based pediatric emergency medicine curriculum', Academic Medicine, vol. 84, no. 7, pp. 935–41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181a813ca

Blake, H 2009, 'Staff perceptions of e-learning for teaching delivery in healthcare', Learning in Health and Social Care, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 223–34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-6861.2009.00213.x

Blake, H 2010, 'Computer-based learning objects in healthcare: The student experience', International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1–15. http://dx.doi.org/10.2202/1548-923X.1939

Coleman, T, & Cotton, D 2010a, Police interactions with persons with a mental illness: Police learning in the environment of contemporary policing, prepared for the Mental Health and the Law Advisory Committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Coleman, T & Cotton, D 2010b, 'Reducing risk and improving outcomes of police interactions with people with mental illness', Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 39–57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15332581003756950

Cotton, D & Coleman, T 2008, Study of police academy training and education for new police officers related to working with people with mental illness, prepared on behalf of The Police/Mental Health Subcommittee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and The Mental Health and the Law Advisory Committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Dror, I 2011, 'A novel approach to minimize error in the medical domain: Cognitive neuroscientific insights into training', Medical Teacher, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 34–38. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2011.535047

Farnsworth, J & Boon B 2010, 'Analysing group dynamics within the focus group', Qualitative Research, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 605–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468794110375223

Hanafi, S, Bahora, M, Demir, B & Compton, M 2008, 'Incorporating crisis intervention team (CIT) knowledge and skills into the daily work of police officers: A focus group study', Community Mental Health Journal, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 427–32. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-008-9145-8

Issenberg, S & Scalese, R 2008, 'Simulation in health care education', Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 31–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/pbm.2008.0004

Kamberelis G & Dimitriadis G 2013, Focus groups: From structured interviews to collective conversations, Taylor & Francis Group, New York.

Kleinpell, R, Ely, E, Williams, G, Liolios, A, Ward, N & Tisherman, S 2011, 'Web-based resources for critical care education', Critical Care Medicine, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 541–53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0b013e318206b5b5

Kovacs, E & Toms, W 2010, 'Scenario-based learning improves trooper performance', Public Manager, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 34–37.

Kyle, R & Murray, W 2008, Clinical simulation: Operations, engineering, and management, Academic Press, Salt Lake City, UT.

Lanzilotti, R, Ardito, C, Costabile, M & De Angeli, A 2006, 'eLSE methodology: A systematic approach to the e-learning systems evaluation', Journal of Education Technology and Society, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 42–53.

McGaghie, W, Issenberg, S, Petrusa, E & Scalese, R 2010, 'A critical review of simulation-based medical education research: 2003–2009', Medical Education, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 50–63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03547.x

Moisio, A, Markkula, M & Smeds, R 2003, 'E-learning lessons learnt from a student perspective: A cross-case comparison between public and private organizations', referred paper from the 7th International Workshop on Experimental Learning in Industrial Management, Aalborg, Denmark, 22–24 May, pp. 22–24.

Perkins, G, Fullerton, J, Davis-Gomez, N, Davies, R, Baldock, C, Stevens, H & Lockey, A 2010, 'The effect of pre-course e-learning prior to advanced life support training: A randomised controlled trial', Resuscitation, vol. 81, no. 7, pp. 877–81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2010.03.019

Rentroia-Bonito, M, Jorge, J & Ghaoui, C 2006, 'Motivation to e-learn within organizational settings: An exploratory factor structure', International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 24–35. http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/jdet.2006070103

Sagoe, D 2012, 'Precincts and prospects in the use of focus groups in social and behavioral science research', The Qualitative Report, vol. 17, no. 29, pp. 1–16.

Schuwirth, L & van der Vleuten, C 2003, 'The use of clinical simulations in assessment', Medical Education, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 65–71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2923.37.s1.8.x

Smart, K & Cappel, J 2006, 'Students' perceptions of online learning: A comparative study', Journal of Information Technology Education, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 201–19.

Smetanin, P, Stiff, D, Briante, C, Adair, C, Ahmad, S & Khan, M 2011, The life and economic impact of major mental illnesses in Canada, RiskAnalytica, on behalf of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Toronto, ON.

Tashiro, J & Dunlap, D 2007, 'The impact of realism on learning engagement in educational games', referred paper from the 2007 Conference on Future Play, Toronto, Canada, 15–17 November, ACM, New York, pp. 113–20.

Trapp, P 2005, 'Engaging the body and mind with the spirit of learning to promote critical thinking', The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 73–76.

Watson, A, Corrigan, P & Ottati, V 2004, 'Police responses to persons with mental illness: Does the label matter?', Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 378–85.

Watson, A, Ottati, V, Draine, J & Morabito, M 2011, 'CIT in context: The impact of mental health resource availability and district saturation on call dispositions', International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 287–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.07.008

Weaver, C, Joseph, D, Dongon, S, Fairweather, A & Ruzek, J 2013, 'Enhancing services response to crisis incidents involving veterans: A role for law enforcement and mental health collaboration, Psychological Services, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 66–72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029651

World Health Organization 2003, Investing in mental health, Geneva, World Health Organization, viewed 21 May, http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/investing_mnh.pdf