TDMHSAS Announces New Grant to Expand Crisis Intervention Team Programs in Tennessee

Grant will bring new training and techniques to eight primarily rural counties
Monday, October 14, 2019 | 09:07am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), Department of Correction, and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Tennessee announced today a new grant that will expand Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and techniques to eight new counties.  The expansion is focusing on Sumner, Wilson, Smith, DeKalb, White, Putnam, Overton, and Cumberland Counties.

CIT is a specialized, 40-hour training for law enforcement officers, and in conjunction with robust community partnerships, the goal is to improve outcomes of encounters with people living with behavioral health challenges.  This three year, $660,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will take the lessons learned from a statewide study of CIT in Tennessee and implement them in this 8-county area. 

“Crisis Intervention Team is a truly homegrown, Memphis, Tennessee model for improving outcomes for both law enforcement and people experiencing a mental health crisis.  CIT’s success across the nation and around the world is a true testament to its effectiveness, and we are excited to use this funding to expand the model to more communities in our state,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.

“With our CIT in Tennessee statewide task force, we found that smaller, rural jurisdictions were interested and could benefit from CIT, but they lacked the resources to take that next step,” said Lisa Ragan, MSSW, TDMHSAS Director of Consumer Affairs and Peer Recovery Services.  “With the regional design of this approach, we are going to leverage interagency relationships and the experience of the task force to create better outcomes for everyone involved.”

Implementation of this grant comes in partnership with behavioral health and crisis services provider Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System.  The University of Memphis will be providing monitoring and evaluation services for the grant.

The implementation of the CIT model began in Memphis in 1988.  Since then, it has spread to 18 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.  The co-chair of CIT International, retired Memphis Police Major Sam Cochran, continues to serve a key role on the CIT in Tennessee Taskforce and will provide consultation and training in the expansion project. 

Read the CIT in Tennessee Task Force Report