Missoula Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
Missoula Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
According to Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) International, the organizing body of CIT, "CIT is a program that provides the foundation necessary to promote community and statewide solutions to assist individuals in crisis. The CIT Model reduces both stigma and the need for further involvement with the criminal justice system. It provides a forum for effective problem solving regarding the interaction between the criminal justice and mental health care system and creates the context for sustainable change (https://www.citinternational.org/What-is-CIT)”. CIT is a community partnership of law enforcement, medical and first responders, emergency dispatchers, mental health and substance use treatment providers, hospital systems, consumers of mental health services, attorneys, advocacy groups, homeless service providers, and others.
The CIT Model was originally developed by the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department in the late 80’s due to increased calls associated with mental illness and the police shooting of a black man who was experiencing a mental health crisis. CIT is considered a best practice model and jurisdictions throughout the nation and other countries have adopted programs based on the Memphis Model.
In 2007, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office joined together with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); the Division of Addictive and Mental Disorders; and other state and local agencies to develop a CIT Program: CIT Montana. In 2014, CIT Montana assisted Missoula in implementing a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team Basic Academy in alignment with the Memphis Model. In July 2020, the City of Missoula entered into a contract with Missoula County to use grant funds from the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division at the Montana Department of Health and Human Services to hire a full-time Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program Manager to support a community led CIT Program that ensures all CIT Memphis Model Core Elements are implemented in order to transform our community’s response to behavioral health crises.
How does the CIT Program interact with the Mobile Support Team?
Mobile Support Team (MST) is a partnership between the Missoula Fire Department (MFD) and Partnership Health Center (PHC) to respond to behavioral health crisis calls in the community in a therapeutic manner. In October 2020, the CIT Coordinators put on a two-day training for the newly hired EMTs and Clinicians of the Mobile Support Team. Training topics included: an overview of the CIT Program, Dispatch and Radio Training, Safety Considerations, De-Escalation Techniques, Self-Compassionate Responses in the Field, Community Resources, Native American Cultural Awareness and Considerations, LGBTQIA+ Resources and Information, NAMI Consumer and Family Perspective, Suicidal Risk Assessment and Safety Planning as well as scenario practice and testing. The Team Members also did ride-alongs with our Law Enforcement CIT Coordinators (see “Meet the Coordinators” section) as part of their training.
In April 2021, the Mobile Support Team attended the 5th Annual CIT Basic Academy. This 40-hr CIT academy is based on the Memphis model. Its purpose is to assist law enforcement officers, detention staff, dispatchers and other emergency responders in engaging, assessing, and assisting individuals in crisis with mental health and/or co-occurring substance use disorders. This training exposes the participants to materials and experiences from trained mental health and medical professionals as well as people with lived experiences to better prepare them to effectively and safely work with this unique population.
Strengthening the crisis response system and reducing law enforcement’s role are long-term goals for our CIT Program. The diagram below outlines the CIT Model, which ensures that the system “must be flexible, connect resources and services to the individual as their needs evolve, and provide the services in the least intrusive manner (Bruno, R.L. 2016).”
If you have questions about the Mobile Support Team, please contact John Petroff, Operations Manager at the City of Missoula Fire Department, or Terry Kendrick, Program Manager at Partnership Health Center for more information.
The Mobile Support Team is an integral component of this CIT Model and the CIT Program looks forward to continued collaboration with the team as well as our community partners and stakeholders on making changes in our crisis response infrastructure (access to services and policy), training, community buy-in and collaboration.