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Caroline Pronai, Sharon Green-Hennessy, Ph.D.

Utilization of mental health services, barriers to treatment, and psychological distress within the law enforcement population

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This proposal explores the relation between mental health service utilization among law enforcement personnel and level of psychological distress. Previous research suggests that individuals with high-risk and high-stress jobs such as law enforcement personnel may experience more symptoms of functionally impairing mental health problems, but may be less likely to seek mental health treatment for those problems (Violanti & Aron, 1993). The present study also examines some potential reasons why law enforcement personnel might not utilize mental health services due to attitudinal and concrete barriers. Data was collected via self-reported mental health distress measures (Kessler et. al, 2003) and survey questions regarding barriers to and actual use of mental health services from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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