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CIT Connect

A 501(c)(3) non-profit working to

Preserve Dignity     Respond Compassionately     Ensure Safety

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Who We Are

CIT Connect was born from the desire to preserve dignity and life, with the mission to promote safe, effective, and compassionate responses to people experiencing mental health, substance use, or cognitive crisis. CIT Connect accomplishes this mission by:  

  1. supporting CIT programs with technical assistance and financial provision,

  2. creating a trusted resource base that improves access to and collaboration among community providers, law enforcement, consumers and consumer advocates,

  3. raising awareness through cross-sector education, training, outreach, and activities

  4. innovating projects and programs that advance the mission of the CIT Connect

The Crisis Intervention Team

There are over 128,000 mental health crisis calls in Tennessee every year.  Thanks to an innovative program launched in Chattanooga and Hamilton County in 2009 under the tutelage of the Memphis Police Department, Tennessee consumers from West to East know they will get a compassionate response from their law enforcement Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officers when they need it most.

 


Officers apply and are evaluated for acceptance to the 40 hour, P.O.S.T. Accredited CIT Training Academy which is designed to educate and prepare officers for safe contact with people experiencing a mental health crisis, substance abuse, or Alzheimer's/dementia related crisis. CIT Officers are trained to de-escalate a crisis on scene and equipped to connect directly to appropriate treatment if needed while ensuring safety for all involved parties.

The CIT Academy

The CIT Curriculum is delivered over a 40-hour week of intensive training provided by mental health professionals, advocates, and CIT trained law enforcement officers. The training consists of classroom lectures, site visits with consumers leading discussions, scenario based de-escalation skills training using role play exercises, and training in the use of assessment and evaluation tools.

 

Curriculum includes:

  • Introduction of Clinical Issues

  • Psychotropic Medication 

  • Substance Abuse

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorders

  • Cultural Awareness

  • Developmental Disabilities

  • Advanced Verbal De-escalation Techniques

  • Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

  • Suicide Intervention

  • Complex Crisis Intervention Strategies

  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia

  • Legal Issues/Mental Health Law

  • Rights and Commitment Considerations

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Personality Disorders

  • Community Resources

Graduates of CIT School are awarded a pin identifying them as Certified CIT Officers. Where most pins worn by law enforcement professionals are used to let each other know their qualifications and experience, the CIT Pin is there for the consumers and their families. Seeing this pin lets you know you're dealing with an officer who "gets it" and will handle the crisis situation in the most compassionate and appropriate way possible.

Collaborative Initiatives

Being the Change We Need

A fully functioning Crisis Intervention Team is not "owned" by any single group or organization, but works as a collaboration of community partners representing Law Enforcement, Community Mental Health, and Advocacy (including those with lived experience). Board Members of CIT Connect understand this and have been involved in a number of initiatives to improve outcomes for individuals in crisis. The initiatives CIT Connect's co-founders have been directly involved in included the founding of the Hamilton County/City of Chattanooga Crisis Intervention Team, creation of a specialized docket called mental health court, a transport initiative where mental health consumers on a Certificate of Need are transported by EMS rather than in squad cars (an initiative that's literally saved lives), very well attended appreciation and award banquets that have brought attention to the program and sponsored CIT Officers to attend CIT International Conferences where they learn what's working in other communities, and many others. By working together we're able to make desperately needed systemic change.

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do”

Voltaire

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