CIT International

CIT International's Guide to Best Practices in Mental Health Crisis Response

Available for Download or Purchase

CIT International is proud to provide, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs: A Best Practice Guide for Transforming Community Responses to Mental Health Crises, the first comprehensive guide for communities to best practices for starting and sustaining CIT programs. 

In her foreword to the guide, NAMI Acting CEO Angela Kimball say, “We hope you will read this guide with the intention to go beyond merely training law enforcement officers. We hope, instead, that you use these tools to promote a mental health solution to mental health crises.” Indeed, a main focus of the guide is helping readers understand best practices for mental health crisis response systems, including the mental health services necessary for a quality crisis response and how to improve communication, reduce trauma, and keep people in crisis out of the justice system as much as possible. The guide highlights how communities can serve people in crisis through mental health services and peer support without the involvement of law enforcement.

In a preface by Major Sam Cochran and Dr. Randolph Dupont, co-founders of the Memphis CIT program, they say, “This guide will share with you the hard-won lessons we have learned from more than 30 years of practice…The hardest lesson we’ve learned is about the temptation of training.” Throughout the guide, CIT leaders across the country echo this sentiment:  officer training is one small piece of a puzzle that should include strong, sustained partnerships, program infrastructure, and systemic changes to law enforcement and mental health systems.

The guide takes a practical approach, providing examples and templates to inspire CIT programs, and worksheets to help facilitate difficult conversations among partners. Each chapter includes a case study from a CIT program, highlighting how communities are implementing CIT in different contexts. For example, Chapter 2: Make a Commitment, describes how rural Malheur County, Oregon, built a strong CIT steering committee, and Chapter 6: Sustain and Grow Your CIT Program, features Ohio’s statewide CIT network.

Three leading national organizations that have partnered projects included in the guide: NAMI, the National Council for Behavioral Health and Policy Research Associates, Inc., offer their endorsement.  In addition, more than twenty current and former board members of CIT International weighed in, along with dozens of advocates, mental health professionals and law enforcement from local programs—ensuring the guide reflects best practices from experienced CIT leaders and programs across the US.   

“Widespread crisis intervention strategies and techniques are critical to addressing rising rates of overdoses and suicides that continue to devastate families nationwide. Now, more than ever, we have to break the all-too-common cycle of sending those with mental health and substance use disorders through the criminal justice system. This guidebook is an essential resource for communities to do their part,” says Patrick J. Kennedy, a former U.S. Representative and founder of The Kennedy Forum.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs: A Best Practice Guide for Transforming Community Responses to Mental Health Crises includes seven chapters that guide local mental health advocates, mental health professionals, law enforcement and community leaders through the process of starting and sustaining their CIT programs.

  •     Chapter 1: Learn about Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs and Find Allies 
  •     Chapter 2: Make a Commitment
  •     Chapter 3: Understand Your Crisis Response System
  •     Chapter 4: Build the Infrastructure for CIT
  •     Chapter 5: Plan and Deliver Officer Training
  •     Chapter 6: Sustain and Grow Your CIT Program
  •     Resources and Examples

Read the guide today!

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