Crisis Intervention Training Program
Members of the January 2020 HCSO CIT class with Vice President, Natasha A. Pierre
NAMI Hillsborough is grateful to be included in the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office 40-hour program Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). NAMI Hillsborough shares a lived experience and family perspective during a two-hour segment on day three of the training.
CIT informs the way deputies interact with people experiencing a mental health challenge. The 40-hour curriculum includes mental health crisis awareness training, verbal and physical intervention techniques, mental health first aid and more. CIT supports law enforcement officers in their efforts to calm, contain, control and/or otherwise de-escalate individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
“Mental health issues don’t discriminate, it affects people in all walks of life and I believe it is law enforcement’s biggest hurdle,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “In law enforcement, it is vital to constantly enhance our training to ensure best practices so we are better prepared to aid an individual in crisis.”
Beginning in March 2020, HCSO CIT class sizes will increase from 50 attendees to 150 as all HCSO employees will receive the mandatory training. (Read more here.)
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.
Become an Advocate
Whether you are a law enforcement officer, mental health professional, elected official or person directly affected by mental illness, you can become an advocate for changing the way your community responds to mental heal crisis. Join your Hillsborough County NAMI Advocacy Group (NAG).
NAG meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Children’s Board, 1002 E Palm Ave, Tampa, FL 33605. Upcoming NAG Meetings.
For more information on NAG and NAMI Smarts for Advocacy, contact Carol Eloian.