Crisis Intervention Team Trained to Respond to Mental Health Calls
Many law enforcement officers have been trained to respond to mental health and substance abuse crises. Please find more information on crisis intervention teams for mental health on our Mental Health Crisis page or visit http://www.citac.us/.
The Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) model was developed in 1988 in Memphis, Tennessee, as a partnership between the police department, advocacy groups for people with mental illness, mental health treatment providers, local universities, and other community stakeholders, like NAMI. The goals of CIT were to train law enforcement officers in the recognition of mental illness, to enhance their verbal crisis de-escalation skills, and to provide more streamlined access to community-based mental health services. The Memphis community soon realized the benefits of this advanced course of training through dramatic declines in injury rates among both citizens and police officers, decreased utilization of the SWAT team to resolve crisis situations, and – when safe and appropriate – the diversion of people with mental illness from incarceration to community-based mental health services. Today, CIT training is available to local police and sheriffs throughout the country. We are fortunate in the Arapahoe and Douglas County area to have an active training program for all officers. Also, our community mental health centers are working in tandem with local CIT officers by providing case management services for people with mental illness who are contacted by law enforcement as a consequence of their illness, and by providing community re-entry services for people getting ready to leave jail. By engaging mental health consumers with appropriate community supports, the well-being of the individual and the safety of the community can both be enhanced. If you need to call 911 for help with a mental health crisis, please ask for a CIT officer or a crisis trained officer.