Crisis Intervention Team Training
This course provides insights into, and resolution of, the profound concerns experienced by families, close relatives, and any caregivers as they strive to cope with the realities of serious mental illness. Law enforcement officers not only learn a wide range of information about serious mental illness, they also learn to understand how living with these conditions affects their loved one.
NAMI St. Louis helps support 4 Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Councils that serve 7 Missouri Counties. In 2003, NAMI St. Louis assisted the St. Louis CO CIT Council with its first training course. Since then NAMI St. Louis has been instrumental in helping to set up 3 other CIT Councils, serving 7 counties.
As of January, 2020 NAMI St. Louis has assisted in 154, 40-hour basic CIT Training Courses and has trained over 6,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies. Mental health crisis calls exceed 300 calls a month for certified CIT Officers who bring help and understanding to those affected and their loved ones.
By the end of 2020, with the assistance of NAMI St. Louis an additional 350-400 police officers will be trained in the CIT program.
For the latest information about upcoming classes contact:
Kyle Dooley, NAMI St. Louis Director of CIT Community Policing Programs, at 636-262-0043
What is a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program?
It is a law enforcement program done in collaboration with the mental health treatment community that began in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1988. It recruits, trains and supports law enforcement to respond effectively to incidents involving individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. As a result, those individuals will not be unnecessarily jailed because of behavior resulting from their illness but will instead gain access to emergency, inpatient, and community-based mental health treatment services.
What are the Program Objectives?
- To train law enforcement officers to distinguish threatening behavior based on a mental illness rather than criminal intent, and to respond accordingly;
- To reduce injuries to law enforcement officers and individuals with mental illness that may result from crisis interventions, through training of skills in tactical communications and crisis de-escalation techniques;
- To reduce time required for transfer of custody from law enforcement to hospital personnel, so law enforcement may more quickly return to services;
- To reduce recidivism of individuals who are high utilizers of law enforcement and mental health resources, by implementing assertive outreach and engagement activities for individuals subject to CIT interventions, so that even those who have poor self-insight, deny their psychiatric condition, are non-compliant to treatment and difficult to serve, may be successfully linked to treatment services.
What does a CIT Program consist of?
- A multi-agency / multi-organization Coordinating Councils
- Law enforcement letters of intent to participate
- Law enforcement agency CIT policies and procedures
- CIT Officer recruitment strategies
- CIT 40-hour P.O.S.T. certified Training Courses
- CIT Officer Advanced In-Service Training on such topics as law enforcement response to mental health crisis of children and veterans of foreign war
- Call-taker and dispatch orientation and training
- Effective CIT interventions with individuals in psychiatric distress
- Completion and filing of CIT intervention reports
- Program evaluation
Mental Health crisis are extremely stressful for all parties involved. Some preparation before the crisis and some common-sense actions when the CIT officer responds to a crisis will help your friends or loved-one get the care needed as soon as possible.
- Find out if CIT is part of your police department.
- When calling for police, ask for a CIT officer.
- Keep a current list of medications and doctors’ names and offer it to the CIT officer when he/she arrives.
- Meet the CIT officer outside if possible and fully explain the crisis and what you would like to happen.
- Make the CIT officer(s) aware of anything you know that upsets the person in crisis.
- Keep all guns out of the home.
- When the CIT officer arrives, advise them if the person is armed or has access to weapons. – Remember, when weapons are involved, police concentrate on the possible threat of violence until it is neutralized.
- Understand, the CIT officer(s) will probably ask you to wait in an area away from the person in a crisis. Let the officer do their job and only offer assistance if asked.
- Be prepared to go to the hospital – but remember all CIT calls do not necessarily mean a trip to the hospital.
- Get to know your police department. Introduce your family member or friend to the police when they are not in crisis. Call your police department and have a CIT officer stop by your house; or stop by the police station when a CIT officer will be there.
- Let your family member know the police are there to help.
- Educate yourself about your family member’s or friend’s mental illness by requesting information from NAMI St. Louis.
For more information on the St. Louis Area CIT Council go to: http://www.stlouisco.com/LawandPublicSafety/CrisisInterventionTeam
For more information on the other CIT Council in Missouri go to: https://www.missouricit.org