When looking to start a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) class or continue CIT education for your agency you must continue to utilize a collaborative approach. You must reach out to the advocates and providers in your community. This is not a simple or easy task, be prepared to hold lots of meetings and have face-to-face communications. We often are asked how to start collaboration or find consumers that can help with collaborations. We always suggest checking with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in your area first. NAMI is a great organization that can help with setting up programs and finding speakers and advocates in your area.
Having people living with a mental illness, consumers, as part of your class is crucial. Having consumers as part of a class can offer a unique opportunity to develop empathy towards people living with a mental illness. This may be the first opportunity for officers to see someone living with a mental illness that is not in crisis. The interaction between students and consumer presenters is often a game changer when it comes to perceptions.
Here is an article illustrating the importance for law enforcement in the efforts to reduce suicides. You can download the article in the original format or read it below.
The Mental Health Minute