The Pocono Record featured research and expertise from Holona Ochs, associate professor of political science, in the article "'An extremely vulnerable position': Mental health calls are common for police in the Poconos. Is there a better way to respond?"
Ochs has been researching perspectives on policing throughout the Lehigh Valley over the past five years, interviewing over 100 officers and community members about a variety of topics, including mental health care and crisis intervention, writes The Pocono Record.
"Officers are telling us that they are getting more mental health calls; they anticipate getting even more of them," said Ochs. "They do understand that this has a lot to do with the closing of the state hospitals and the increasing sort of pressures in society. So they do understand it, but they don't often feel well prepared to deal with it."
Ochs told The Pocono Record that throughout the pandemic, many individuals have experienced a variety of crises that can lead to a feeling of apprehension in trusting law enforcement.
She suggests opening up mental care to all and encourages mental health professionals respond first in some instances.
Police can still play a valuable role in assisting in mental health crisis situations when they do happen, said Ochs, by providing "that safe space for mental health professionals to do the work that they do."
The full article can be read on The Pocono Record's website.