Northwestern Community Service Board Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program was established in 2009, providing its first training in the October of that year. It is a collaboration which brings together 21 Law Enforcement agencies, Mental Health Advocacy groups, Community non-profit agencies, families and folks who utilize mental health services.
The CIT model was developed in 1988 by the Memphis Police Department as a response to the death of an individual in the midst of a mental health crisis at the hands of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). The Memphis community rallied bringing together LE agencies, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and multiple community partners to seek a new approach to responding to persons in a mental health crisis. From this effort the CIT model was developed and is now considered a best practice model, employed by over 2700 LE agencies nationwide.
CIT Model Objectives:
- To facilitate changes in LE policy and procedures (in regards to MH)
- A reduction of the risk of danger posed to persons who are in a mental health crisis and the LEOs who respond
- Diversion of persons with mental illness in need of treatment to appropriate mental health treatment facilities in lieu of incarceration
- Decrease trauma and stigma associated with LE contact and criminal justice system involvement
- Increase LE awareness and interest in mental health advocacy
NWCSB CIT program has provided 38 CIT Basic 40 trainings and 5 Train the Trainers to over 385 LEOs from 2009 through 2020. The training is a comprehensive educational based experience that prepares LEOs who come in contact with individuals with mental illness to recognize the signs and symptoms to effectively and appropriately respond. As first responders at the scene of a crisis, it is crucial to know how mental illness can alter behaviors, perceptions and reactions. Through techniques such as de-escalation and active listening, outcomes for everyone involved in a mental health crisis improve.
CIT Training Objectives
- Familiarize officers with mental health disorders
- To educate officers on the signs and symptoms of mental illness
- Promote empathy to enhance interaction with individuals who suffer with mental illness and their family members
- To teach verbal de-escalation skills
- Conduct role plays developed from real life scenarios during training to allow officers to practice newly learned CIT skills
- Provide Family and Client perspective/Site visits
- Provide Mental Health Law/Legal issues information
- Instruct officers on how to connect individuals and family members with MH services/resources in their area/jurisdiction
If you observe or are in a mental health crisis situation contact your local LEO agency or dial 911 and request a CIT officer.
Upcoming 2021 CIT trainings: APRIL/JUNE/AUG(Corrections)/SEPT/NOV
For further information contact: Donna Trillio 540.536.2422 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Virginia CIT programs: https://virginiacit.org.