Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs
The lack of mental health crisis services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers serving as first responders to most crises. A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, community-based approach to improve the outcomes of these encounters.
In over 2,700 communities nationwide, CIT programs create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illness and their families. Through collaborative community partnerships and intensive training, CIT improves communication, identifies mental health resources for those in crisis and ensures officer and community safety.
The Benefits Of CIT
Not only can CIT programs bring community leaders together, they can also help keep people with mental illness out of jail and in treatment, on the road to recovery. That’s because diversion programs like CIT reduce arrests of people with mental illness while simultaneously increasing the likelihood that individuals will receive mental health services. CIT programs also:
- Give police officers more tools to do their job safely and effectively. Research shows that CIT is associated with improved officer attitude and knowledge about mental illness. In Memphis, for example, CIT resulted in an 80% reduction of officer injuries during mental health crisis calls.
- Keep law enforcement’s focus on crime. Some communities have found that CIT has reduced the time officers spend responding to a mental health call. This puts officers back into the community more quickly.
- Produce cost savings. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much diversion programs can save communities. But incarceration is costly compared to community-based treatment. For example in Detroit an inmate with mental illness in jail costs $31,000 a year, while community-based mental health treatment costs only $10,000 a year.
NAMI promotes the expansion of CIT programs nationwide by providing NAMI Affiliates and State Organizations, local law enforcement, mental health providers and other community leaders with information and support about CIT implementation. NAMI also works with local and national leaders to establish standards and promote innovation in CIT.
Upcoming SC CIT Trainings
NAMI SC has scheduled multiple CIT trainings across the state for 2021. To learn more, contact Marty Wilkes (NAMI SC’s CIT Regional Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAMI and our national partners have developed many resources to support local communities to start or enhance their CIT programs:
- Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs: A Best Practice Guide for Transforming Community Responses to Mental Health Crises: Developed by CIT International, this guide shares best practices for starting and sustaining CIT programs.
- CIT Coordinators Guide: Guidance for CIT coordinators who have invited a peer or family member to share their personal mental health story during a CIT training.
- CIT for Youth Guide: Tools to help local communities develop CIT programs to respond to youth and young adults who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Key Stakeholders: A resource to help think through the stakeholders that are important to effectively addressing your community’s response to mental health crisis.
- Police Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) Toolkit: A resource supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice to provide communities with best practices and other resources for addressing law enforcement’s response to mental health crises.
For additional information, visit CIT International, the leading national organization promoting the Memphis Model and other best practices in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs.