Taser use on individuals experiencing mental distress: an integrative literature review

Hallett, Nutmeg, Duxbury, Joy, Mckee, Tina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2011-6927, Harrison, Natalie, Haines, Alina, Craig, Elaine and O'Brien, Anthony (2021) Taser use on individuals experiencing mental distress: an integrative literature review. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 28 (1). pp. 56-71. ISSN 1351-0126,

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manuscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jpm.12594


Conducted electrical weapons, or ‘Tasers’, are currently used by over 15,000 law enforcement and military agencies worldwide. There are concerns regarding the effectiveness, potential for harm, and overuse with people experiencing mental distress.
To explore the literature about police use of Tasers with people experiencing mental distress.
An integrative review was undertaken and qualitative and quantitative analytical approaches were used.
Thirty‐one studies were included. Of all recorded usage, overall prevalence of Taser use on people experiencing mental distress was 28%. This population may require a greater number of shocks to subdue them than other people.
There are substantial gaps in the research literature particularly with respect to the decision‐making processes involved in deploying Tasers on this population and the physical and psychological consequences of Taser use in this context.
Implications for practice
Police use of Tasers in mental health crises is relatively common, and occurs in a variety of environments including mental health settings. Mental health professionals need to work with police towards greater understanding of the needs of people with mental illness, and to promote the use of non‐coercive interventions in mental health crisis events.

Repository Staff Only: item control page