Bell Continues Efforts to Educate Community and Eliminate Stigma
Since the partnership began several years ago between local first responders and Bell Socialization Services, Bell has held a key role in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. Once again this winter, Bell’s mental health services team invited law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel to meet with Bell mental health service users to discuss opportunities to help improve responses to people in mental health crisis.
The CIT model began as an innovative police-based pre-arrest jail diversion program known nationally as the “Memphis Model” as it was founded in Memphis. There are now 2700 CIT sites across the U.S. The program helps enhance communication, identify mental health resources to assist people in crisis, and ensure that officers get the training and support they need.
CIT programs provide officers with 40 hours of intensive training, including:
- Learning from mental health professionals and experienced officers in the community. The program connects officers with a team of clinicians and fellow officers who can advise, problem-solve and support them when a challenging situation occurs.
- Personal interaction with people who have experienced and recovered from mental health crisis. CIT meetings like the ones at Bell offer a first-hand opportunity to hear stories of recovery, ask questions and learn what helps (and harms) a person in crisis.
- Verbal de-escalation skills. CIT teaches a set of skills for ensuring officer safety, including the words, approach, and body language to convince a person to get help, or defuse a potentially violent encounter.
- Scenario-based training. With the help of Bell staff and other providers, officers practice their skills in common crisis situations, and get immediate feedback from instructors and classmates.
For more information, contact Kris Stroup at 717-848-5767, ext 400.
Pictured in photo is Bell’s director of mental health services, Kris Stroup (far left), along with local first responders and Bell service users who attended the recent training.