There is an epidemic in this country of mental health crises. At the same time, we also have a lack of crisis services, which has led to police officers acting as first responders to many mental health crises across the nation.
The response to this epidemic from many communities has been to develop a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program to improve results in these situations. CIT programs have already been created in over 27,000 communities nationwide. The goal of CIT is to create better channels of communication between law enforcement and other stakeholders in the mental health profession along with those suffering from mental health issues. In addition to improving collaboration, CIT programs also provide intensive training, refer those in crisis to the right treatment options, and also make sure everyone in the community is safe.
Additional Benefits of These Crisis Intervention Programs
CIT programs can also:
- Keep those with mental health issues out of prison and get them into treatment.
- Provide law enforcement officers the resources to do their job safely.
- Allow police officers to focus on reducing crime.
- Save the community money. Research has found incarceration is far more costly than a treatment program.
How You Can Help
If you are a mental health professional, police officer, or a family member of someone living with a mental health issue, you can help change how your local community responds to these crises. You can search the National Alliance on Mental Illness website to find your local affiliate. Every person and every voice helps spread this important message far and wide. So please consider advocating today.