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CPD’s Director of Clinical Support Services Published in Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open

Dr. James Barrett

Cambridge Police Department’s Director of Clinical Support Services Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open

Cambridge Police Department’s (CPD) Dr. James Barrett was part of a team of researchers who recently published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open. The researchers, led by Dr. Ted Miller with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, published Share of Adult Suicides After Recent Jail Release, which found that one in five adults who die by suicide in the United States spent at least one night in jail in the year prior to their death. The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), as part of the National Center for Health and Justice Integration for Suicide Prevention (NCHATS). Dr. Barrett and the director of the Health Equity Research Lab, Dr. Ben Cook, are co- principal investigators for one of the center’s four primary projects.

Researchers compiled data from 10 studies of death rates among formerly incarcerated adults. The researchers found that nearly 20% of suicides among US adults occurred among those who were released from jail in the past year and 7% were by those in their second year of jail release. The study recommends developing infrastructure to identify these high-risk adults and provide community-based suicide screening and prevention, especially post-release from jail.

Dr. Barrett’s work with the Cambridge Police Department and the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Health Equity Research Lab reflects his commitment in supporting individuals with mental health conditions. He leads the Clinical Support Unit at CPD, whose staff work alongside specially trained officers to prevent the unnecessary arrest and detention of people diagnosed with mental health conditions. Dr. Barrett’s unit uses a case management and follow up approach, where social workers follow up on mental health calls with the goal of stabilizing and supporting residents in the community. CPD is also deploying a co-response model as an enhancement to our current model. A clinician will be paired with an officer in a patrol car to respond to police 911 calls in the city that involve mental health. 

Dr. Barrett is the Director of the Clinical Support Unit at the Cambridge Police Department and an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. He is also an Associate Clinical Researcher at the Health Equity Research Lab at the Cambridge Health Alliance, where he received the Academic Council Award for Excellence.


Page was posted on 7/8/2024 2:22 PM
Page was last modified on 7/8/2024 2:38 PM
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