Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are specially trained police officers that can quickly respond to potentially life threatening situations involving those who are experiencing serious mental health problems. These teams can be called in by community organizations, churches, schools, families or anyone else who has a concern for the welfare of someone they deem vulnerable. CIT teams have members who have all undergone extensive training and screening so that the members can be called in as needed. It does not matter what type of crisis the members are called to solve.
A crisis intervention team is usually comprised of members from a range of disciplines, from doctors to psychologists, nurses to social workers. One of the most effective types of CITs involves crisis intervention teams, which are made up of members who have experience in dealing with mental health emergencies and/or stress syndrome cases. The members of this type of team can include people with psychiatric expertise, mental health professionals, psychologists and members from various other disciplines, such as law enforcement, EMS and fire departments. Members of this type of crisis team may have experience in crisis resolution; however, they will also have experience in psychological support. A team will likely have a variety of different types of mental health professionals on hand to provide support to the crisis intervention team members and families.
One specialty area of the psychological support provided by crisis intervention teams is that of law enforcement officers. Law enforcement officers may come from different agencies and come from different areas of the law. When a law enforcement officer is called to a scene where another person has been involved in a mental health crisis or mental illness crisis, he/she may be asked to act as a crisis intervention team member. Some members of law enforcement may go beyond their training to provide additional support to the crisis intervention team.
The members of crisis intervention teams who come from a different area of the law may have specialized training in a particular mental health field. For example, members of crisis intervention teams may have extensive experience in forensic psychology. They may also have specialized training in law enforcement, corrections, mental health and social service. In some cases, crisis intervention teams will bring in members from disciplines other than law enforcement.
Crisis intervention teams may use diverse strategies to provide psychological support. Crisis counselors are typically employed by crisis intervention teams. Crisis counselors can provide direct supportive and therapeutic feedback to the crisis intervention team members and families. Crisis counselors will assess the needs of the person involved in the crisis and will develop an individualized plan for meeting the specific needs of the patient. Crisis counselors also may refer their clients to appropriate clinical and mental health providers. Counselors can also work in schools to provide educational support to students who may be at risk for developing a mental health problem.
Police officers may also make up part of crisis intervention teams. In some cases, police officers have extensive specialized training in working with people in crisis. In other instances, the officers will be called upon to assess the situation on their own. In both cases, the officers will likely be asked to take some specialized training in order to train them in how to deal with mental health and legal issues.
The role of the psychological support team may vary according to the type of crisis they are responding to. When dealing with people suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, crisis negotiators will likely provide additional psychological support as well as legal assistance. Crisis rescuers, also called medical response specialists, are often called upon to evaluate the situation and provide first aid and securing shelter for the patient. Examples of crisis rescuers are nurses, physicians and other trained emergency response specialists. Sometimes, fire department members or other professionals who have experience dealing with crisis situations may be called in as crisis rescuers, in order to give psychological support to the patient and family during and after the crisis has ended.
Crisis intervention teams may consist of a small number of highly trained, highly educated volunteers who know how to deal with the psychological issues facing an individual. They can be made up of family members, friends, business owners, clergy members, or psychologists. Many organizations prefer to recruit crisis intervention teams that have previously worked together, so that they can provide similar psychological support and counseling services to the patients. Other organizations prefer to recruit volunteers who have specific experience in dealing with traumatic events, such as first responders, fire fighters and medical professionals.
A Crisis Intervention Team is an interdisciplinary police mental health cooperative effort located in North America. The term Crisis Intervention Team, is most commonly used to describe a training and an intervention program for police officers to assist those with a mental disorder in resolving potentially harmful or life-threatening situations. Crisis Interventions happens when there is an acute demand for an immediate response to a situation that requires an assessment of the situation by trained crisis intervention professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers or emergency staff. Such assessments may be undertaken at the scene of a crisis or within the immediate vicinity of one.
As a professional from the Red Cross, you will have the opportunity to add value through your expertise in the field of Mental Health and the Law. As a trusted partner of the police department in communities across the country, you will work hand-in-hand with the police department to ensure that the people suffering from mental illnesses are properly evaluated and provided with the treatment they need. You will have the ability to provide critical guidance when it comes to de-instilling behaviors and thought patterns that lead to self-harm or suicide attempts. By providing education about mental illnesses and providing practical tips on how to avoid or minimize risky behavior, you will be able to improve the conditions in which vulnerable people live. By responding quickly to crisis intervention teams, you will also contribute to the greater well being of the people you serve by increasing their sense of security and well-being.
In many instances, the police officers who work hand-in-hand with Red Cross officers are considered „expert workers“. They are highly-trained members of the police force that enjoy great job skills and excellent interpersonal skills. In addition, many Red Cross police officers have specialized training in mental health crisis intervention and know how to provide compassionate, effective guidance. Working alongside them, you will build strong bonds and become an important partner in the area of mental health.
When working hand-in-hand with police officers, you will be able to assist individuals suffering from brain disorders and other life-threatening conditions. Police officers are often the first resource in the event of an active shooter situation or other high-risk situation. A Red Cross mental health crisis intervention team may also be called upon to respond to domestic violence call-outs, school lockdowns and other emergencies. Your valuable skills and proven expertise will be appreciated by members of the public in situations ranging from routine traffic crashes to violent storms and natural disasters.
When police officers are called to take reports of neglect in day-to-day living, such as broken water pipes and constant electricity outages, Red Cross officers and Red Cross volunteers can help provide essential information and assistance. The same is true for emergencies involving physical injury or serious property damage. A trained crisis intervention team will assess your community to determine its best resources to provide assistance and contact you if it looks like someone you know may be in danger.
A crisis intervention team will also make contact with law enforcement officers assigned to your department. These officers are often the first people to notice behavioral issues and substance abuse issues among individuals living in your community. With their specialized training and valuable experience, these officers can easily identify warning signs and quickly refer individuals to trusted community mental health agencies for further evaluation and care.
Crisis intervention teams can also contact mental health facilities in your city when an individual there presents a danger to himself or herself or others. In cases involving violent attacks against family members or employees, or domestic violence in the home, these officers can contact local law enforcement agencies for additional information. De-escalation techniques may be employed to diffuse any volatile situations until professional and security forces can arrive on the scene. Your crisis intervention team can also contact professionals at the local hospital to ensure the safety of any person who may have been injured during the confrontation.
Often, these crisis intervention teams are called upon to serve other types of individuals as well. Many times, they are called upon to respond to situations that involve individuals suffering from mental illnesses. In instances where individuals are exhibiting signs of psychosis or serious mental illness, they may be unable to communicate with anyone outside of their immediate family. In these cases, the crisis intervention team can offer crucial assistance by communicating with health professionals and social service organizations to find other means through which to assist the individual in maintaining a productive and safe life. In many instances, law enforcement officers will also be called upon to evaluate and possibly medicate individuals suffering from these types of conditions. Regardless of the circumstances in which these teams are called upon to respond to an emergency situation, the professionals who comprise them are highly trained and skilled professionals who are able to take charge in situations that require quick thinking and judgment.