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Brief Reports   |    
Screening for Mental Illness Among Persons in Amsterdam Police Custody
Tina Dorn, Ph.D.; Manon Ceelen, Ph.D.; Marcel Buster, Ph.D.; Kees Das, M.D., Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200009
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Dr. Dorn, Dr. Ceelen, and Dr. Buster are affiliated with the Department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health Promotion, and Dr. Das is with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Public Health Service Amsterdam, P.O. Box 2200, Amsterdam 1000 CE, Netherlands (e-mail: tdorn@ggd.amsterdam.nl).

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objective  Research on the mental health of police detainees is scarce. This study aimed to identify the proportion of persons detained by the Police Service Amsterdam-Amstelland who screened positive for a serious mental condition.

Methods  A survey conducted in 2009 among 264 randomly selected detainees assessed demographic characteristics and general medical and mental health and included use of the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen (BJMHS) (N=248).

Results  Almost 40% of survey respondents screened positive on the BJMHS, indicating a need for further evaluation. This rate was lower than the rate reported for police detainees in Australia but substantially higher than the rates reported for persons incarcerated in U.S. jails.

Conclusions  More systematic research is needed to examine reasons for reports of different rates of mental illness among detainees in different countries.

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Table 1Outcomes of the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen among 248 police detainees, by characteristica
Table Footer Note

a Because of missing values on the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen, screening outcomes were not available for 16 detainees. In addition, some data are missing for some characteristics.

Table Footer Note

b Results of chi square test comparing detainees with positive versus negative screens

Table Footer Note

c Ethnic background was classified according to the self-reported country of birth of the detainee’s parents. When at least one parent was born abroad, the detainee was considered non–Native Dutch.

Table Footer Note

d Low education included no education or primary school only, lower or preparatory vocational education, and junior general secondary education. Medium or high education included upper secondary vocational education and apprenticeship training, upper general secondary education and preuniversity education, higher professional education, and university education.



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