Is law enforcement equipped to deal with crisis responses? On one end, some of those from the law enforcement field think officers shouldn’t be responding to community problems and should be focusing on crime. Meanwhile, those from the social work space think the criminal justice system only harms people suffering from mental illnesses. This discussion navigates Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and its benefits in effectively addressing the problem of mental health crises.
This session’s instructor is Jesse Trevino, the Co-Founder and President of Solution Point Plus. Jesse is a former police detective and master trainer who served with the San Antonio Police Department with expertise in mental health jail diversion.
Topics Jesse covered in his presentation include:
- CIT: Its inception, what it is, and myths about CIT.
- How CIT training facilitates safety through de-escalation, education about serious mental illness (SMIs) and substance abuse, and introspection.
- Defining mental illness as health conditions affecting emotion, thinking, or behavior which creates issues with day-to-day functioning.
- The importance of overcoming stigma which is the primary barrier to seeking help by separating mental illness from violence.
- SMIs: Statistics impacted by SMIs and how it can be a predictor of violence particularly when combined with variables like substance use, and environmental factors.
- Facts and figures that illustrate the prevalence of mental illness and SMIs, access to treatment, and its intersection with the jail population.
- How despite the developments in mental health care, SMIs which create the biggest strain on the criminal justice system are not being afforded the focus needed to effectively address it.
- A brief introduction to the different categories of disorders and examples and characterization of each one.
- A historical look at how society has dealt with mental illness – its archaic and dark roots of institutionalization, deinstitutionalization, and criminalization.
- Pharmacology: Its role in addressing SMIs, the categories of medications available for symptom management, and the need for perspective change in how compliance with medication is viewed.
- Challenges in medication compliance due to:
- Harmful side effects that create even more problems for the individual being medicated.
- Tolerance, where despite compliance the individual reverts to crisis once tolerance is built.
- Lack of insight where the individual suffering from SMI is unable to understand or perceive his or her illness.
- Preferred symptoms where some symptoms of the mental illness allow the individual to function better.
- High cost of medication that ensures compliance and the presence of cheaper alternatives as illicit drugs and alcohol.
- How CIT doesn’t adopt a one-size-fits-all all approach and must be tailored to the needs and resources available to the jurisdiction.
- How shortage of facilities, beds, and staffing is posing challenges in timely and appropriate crisis response and treatment.
- Statistics exhibiting the increase of mental-health-related calls and the time law enforcement is taking on these calls.
- The opposing viewpoints on how mental health crises must be dealt with and the options and factors to take into account in this debate.
- The Sequential Intercept Model and where CIT lives in this framework.
Specifics covered in the Q&A include:
- Providing the best response to calls that involve SMIs through training.
- The reason behind the increase in prevalence of mental illness.
- Dealing with calls from family to help deal with a family member who refuses to take medication.
- How law enforcement remains to be the most proficient in handling stress situations.
- Addressing systemic racism and trauma that underlies mental health crises.
- The significance of gaining knowledge about mental health, the inevitability of encountering mental health issues, and the need for proficiency to effectively address them.
Other Webinars with this Organization
- Nov 30: Why CIT? (this webinar)
- Feb 1, 2024: Effective Communication and Active Listening
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: Key Points
- “The most valuable thing is there is information concerning this topic. Mental health should be a part of the use of force matrix. Great presentation.”
- “Just a really good presenter. He knew a lot about the topic and was able to express his thoughts. I enjoyed it.”
- “As a current law enforcement officer, I have learned that the first step is to work on self before you can honestly help others. Slowly the LE community is starting to open up and make it ok for officers to be honest that they need help. But this is an uphill battle. Truthfully every police department need to have several CIT trained officers paired with a licensed professional to these mental health calls for services.”
- “Enthusiasm and information was phenomenal!”
- “VERY GOOD AND INFORMATIVE WEBINAR”