The lack of mental health crisis services in many areas of the country has led law enforcement officers to act as first responders to mental health crises. Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) were developed as a community-based approach to improving outcomes of encounters between officers and people experiencing a crisis.

CIT programs create connections between mental health providers, law enforcement, hospitals, and people with mental illness and their families. These programs aim to destigmatize mental illness while improving communication and problem-solving between all parties involved.

Benefits of CIT

  • Helps keep people with mental illness in recovery instead of jail. CIT programs reduce the likelihood of arrest and help people get necessary mental healthcare services.
  • Gives police tools to do their job safely. CIT programs improve officer knowledge and understanding of mental illness through intensive training. These programs also result in a reduction of officer injuries during a crisis event.
  • Keeps law enforcement’s focus on crime. CIT training allows officers to handle mental health-related calls more efficiently, thus giving them more time to devote to stopping crimes in the community.
  • Saves communities money that can be used elsewhere. In many cities, community-based mental healthcare is less expensive than incarceration.

NAMI NC believes strongly in the power of CIT programs, and regularly advocates for their expanded use throughout our state.

Learn More about CIT Programs