The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a model community initiative designed to improve the outcomes of police interactions with people living with mental illnesses. CIT programs are built on local partnerships between law enforcement agencies, mental health providers and advocates (local NAMI Affiliates). They involve individuals living with mental illnesses and families at all levels of decision-making and planning. The CIT program in Hancock County provides 40 hours of training for law enforcement correctional officers, dispatchers, EMTs, firefighters, school resource officers, hospital safety officers and others on how to better respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Equally important, CIT programs provide a forum for partner organizations to coordinate diversion from jails to mental health services. In many communities, CIT has served as a springboard for a broader collaboration between the criminal justice and mental health systems.
NAMI does not “own” the CIT program, so we cannot run a train-the-trainer. However, NAMI Affiliates have been partners in local CIT programs nationwide since the first program was started in Memphis is 1988.