Pathway mapping as a tool to address police use of force in behavioral health crisis

Heather M. Ross, Kathleen H. Pine, Sarah Curran, Dawn Augusta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Police use of force is a significant problem in many communities, particularly related to episodes of behavioral health crisis where police are called to respond. Fragmentation of the behavioral health care system creates a revolving door where many residents with behavioral health challenges cycle in and out of the system, often accessing services via the 9-1-1 emergency system during a crisis episode. This work leverages ethnographic and participatory techniques to build a pathway map in order to represent and characterize the behavioral health crisis system in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Map findings illustrate that many nominally existing connections are functionally distant when viewed through the lens of a clinical handoff. The resulting pathway map can be used as a planning and confirmatory tool for community members, practitioners, and policymakers to address challenges in behavioral health and public safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115088
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Behavioral health
  • Crisis
  • Health systems
  • Pathway mapping
  • Public safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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