Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Police Crisis Intervention Teams

NAMI has been doing a wonderful job advocating for Police Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) to be adopted in all communities.

What is a CIT program?

-CIT is a partnership between the police, the mental health system, family members and individuals suffering from mental illness.
Certain officers within a force who have an interest and insight into psychiatric illnesses, receive specialized training from mental health professionals and advocates .

-They are taught to recognize psychiatric distress and symptoms that accompany the disease, and the types of techniques and responses that best work to de-escalate the situation rather than compound it.
The goal, through recognizing psychotic symptoms and dealing with them appropriately, is to get the individual into the proper mental health treatment rather than arresting them or anyone getting hurt.

-Implemented in communities (Memphis, Durham, and many more), the program greatly reduces the rates of arrests and injuries for those with mental illness; and it improves the understanding and compassion and satisfaction for officers working within those communities.

The existence of this program is an encouraging example of the gradual progression of societal awareness concerning psychiatric brain diseases, its symptoms, and how best to help someone suffering from them.

D. Cooley

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