COVID-19 and Mental Health: An Examination of 911 Calls for Service

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The purpose of this study was to explore the rate and geographic distribution of 911 calls for service related to mental health issues during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the City of Detroit, MI, USA. The results suggest that the total number of calls for mental health issues was at the lowest level when compared with the same time period for the previous 3 years. Furthermore, as both the daily reported COVID-19 cases and related deaths increased over time, there was a significant decline in both suicide threats and suicides in progress. Significant hot spots were found for the total calls as well as for threats of suicide. These hot spots did not coincide with the spatial distribution of reported cases of COVID-19 by ZIP code. While higher and lower areas of reported cases were found, these differences by ZIP code were not found to be significant. When compared with the previous 3 years of data, the hot spot area was much smaller in 2020, implying that the mental health-related calls for service were more evenly spread throughout the city.

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Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, v. 14, issue 4, p. 1112-1126