This article advances the proposition that police officers in Newfoundland and Labrador are, and should be, viewed as frontline providers of mental healthcare services. A frontline provider of mental healthcare service could be defined as any person who in the performance of employment acts as a facilitator of initial delivery of mental healthcare for a consumer in need of such service. The central proposition requires qualification and context and is advanced through pursuit of the following research objectives: to assess the extent that variability in police officer mental health training programs may impact upon the performance of statutory duties of police officers under the Newfoundland Mental Health Care and Treatment Act; to provide insightful commentary; and, where possible, to highlight counterproductive issues in the advancement of the quality of service that police officers provide to consumers of mental healthcare services, particularly within the context of initial psychiatric assessments as provided for under the Act. The MHCTA is a broad and expansive piece of legislation governing the entire spectrum of involuntary mental healthcare, including initial assessment, involuntary admission, treatment, review and release of persons back into the community. The scope of this article is limited primarily to the role prescribed to police officers under the Act. As such, the article centres on the process and procedures surrounding apprehension and conveyance of a person to a medical facility for initial psychiatric assessment.
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Jude Hall, "Frontline Providers of Mental Healthcare: The Role of Police Officers in Involuntary Psychiatric Assessments Under the Mental Health Care and Treatment Act" (2010) 19 Dal J Leg Stud 107.