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Interns provide mental health support for law enforcement

Law enforcement and behavioral health agencies collaborate with universities to hire interns who provide clinical support for police-mental health collaborations, such as co-response teams or mobile crisis units. While there are limitations to this approach (e.g., high turnover), these programs can help provide support for mental health professionals and/or fill personnel gaps while permanent funding is sought.

Local Examples

Cumberland County, ME Portland Police Department (PPD)

  • Since 2011, the PPD has collaborated with University of Southern Maine and the University of New England to operate a year-long, graduate-level internship program.
  • Interns support PPD’s mental health co-response program by responding to calls for service with officers, conducting follow-ups, and making referrals to mental health providers.
  • A behavioral health coordinator embedded in PPD provides oversight to the interns.
  • Clinical supervision is provided by the university.

For more information on this example, see this resource:




1 - Reduce bookings into jail
3 - Increase connection to treatment

Last updated: September 8, 2020