So, what is CIT?
CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Team. It was first developed in Memphis, TN in 1988 after a fatal police-action shooting involving a young man with schizophrenia. It is a community-based program that establishes collaborative relationships between law enforcement, mental health providers, and individuals impacted by mental illness. Its goals are to increase safety, reduce arrest of individuals with mental illness, and increase referrals to mental health services. This is accomplished through partnerships, policy, training, and more. CIT International provides a more in-depth explanation in their article, "So What is CIT?"
Can NAMI Indiana or anyone provide CIT training for us?
The quick answer is no. But that's good news! If someone else provided your training, you will have had a training. That's just checking a box in some instances. But you wouldn't have a community-based program that creates positive systems change, local ownership, and sustainability, and you certainly wouldn't have CIT. Our role is to answer your questions, provide resources, and lend technical assistance so that you can grow your CIT program with confidence. If you don't have a CIT program yet, but officers in your community want training, they can reach out to existing CIT programs to request to attend their next 40-hour CIT class.
How much does it cost to attend a CIT training?
CIT costs nothing to attend. Having said that, we realize that if a law enforcement agency sends someone to a free 40-hour class for a week, they may incur other costs in terms of travel or overtime pay to fill that person's role while they are away. That is why we advocated for and received funding from the Indiana DMHA to provide mini-grants to small departments or those with less than 10% of their officers CIT-trained.
How much does it cost to develop a CIT program?
The biggest investment in creating CIT in your community is time. It's important that your steering committee members devote the time to meeting regularly to build the various core elements of your program. There are some costs associated with hosting a training but we'll work with your steering committee to prepare for that.
What do you mean by "team"? Who responds during a crisis?
The team (the "T" in CIT) is your CIT steering committee. This is made up of local stakeholders in law enforcement, the mental health provider community, and advocates with lived experience impacted by mental illness. They meet regularly to improve your community's response to mental health crisis and to host a 40-hour training for law enforcement. During an actual crisis, it is a CIT officer who has completed that 40-hour training who will respond once you've built capacity within your community to have a CIT response for any mental health crisis. So essentially the team coordinates the program, and the CIT officer responds during a crisis. Some communities expand beyond a CIT officer response to include social workers or other mental health providers as co-responders as part of a mobile crisis team.
What is the role of NAMI members when it comes to CIT?
Individuals living with mental illness who are in recovery or family members of individuals living with mental illness are an important voice and should be part of any CIT program. They will attend CIT meetings and can help identify individuals with lived experience to share their personal stories during a CIT class, in coordination with NAMI Indiana to help prepare these volunteers.
What is a CIT Indiana mini-grant?
Even though CIT classes are free to attend, we recognize that law enforcement agencies can incur overtime or travel expenses when sending an officer to a week-long training. The Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) is providing funds to NAMI Indiana for a limited number of mini-grants in the amount of $950.00. Small departments or those with less than 10% of their officers trained in CIT are eligible to apply. NAMI Indiana must receive confirmation from the hosting CIT coordinator that the officer attended the full 40 hours before funds will be disbursed.