FAIRBORN — The Fairborn Police Department is among 11 Ohio agencies sending representatives to Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, hosted by the Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene & Madison Counties (MHRB).
Held Jan. 25-29, the five-day, 40-hour intensive training is internationally recognized as a best practice for law enforcement and first responders for crisis situations involving individuals with mental illness.
While this training is typically held in person, this year’s training will be held online due to safety concerns during the pandemic.
“Law enforcement are first responders to all kinds of crises. They are first on the scene and have to ascertain very quickly whether someone is a danger to themselves or others under pressure. When someone is in the middle of a mental health crisis, they may be out of touch with reality and unable to respond to police commands, which could lead to tragedy,” said Dr. Greta Mayer, CEO of MHRB. “This training is designed to help our law enforcement officers recognize when a call they’re responding to involves someone experiencing a mental health crisis and show how they can de-escalate the situation to keep everyone safe.”
The other agencies participating in the training include the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Beavercreek Police Department, Bellbrook Police Department, Bethel Township Fire, Lake Patrol Madison County, London Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks & Watercraft, South Charleston Police, and Springfield Police Division.
CIT curriculum covers topics such as de-escalation techniques, psychiatric medications, trauma, and voluntary and involuntary hospitalization, mitigating suicide and overdose risk, and client rights. It also covers forensic monitoring of individuals living with mental illness who commit crimes; a small population that mental health boards monitor as part of their mandated role. This year is the fifteenth year MHRB has conducted this training in the region.
Despite pressures from the current social climate, CIT is designed to alleviate concerns about scrutiny over law enforcement behavior by giving first responders the tools they need to recognize someone in a mental health crisis. Additionally, CIT helps facilitate better relationships between the behavioral health community and local police agencies.
“Law enforcement officers make life and death decisions every day. It’s a heavy burden to bear — but we are here every step of the way to help support them in their important work and in their personal lives when they need it. Whether it’s helping them preserve the lives of those they serve and/or protecting their own mental health on the job, MHRB is here to help provide discreet pathways to care,” said Mayer.
For more information about mental health and substance use resources in Clark, Greene and Madison counties, visit www.mhrb.org.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.