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TDMHSAS Releases Crisis Intervention Team In Tennessee Report

Specialized mental health training for law enforcement to improve outcomes
Friday, May 10, 2019 | 08:08am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) today released a report on the usage of the Crisis Intervention Team techniques across the state noting the successes seen in areas where the specialized training for law enforcement is improving outcomes for residents living with mental illness.

Funded by a federal grant to TDMHSAS from the U.S. Department of Justice, the study of CIT in Tennessee was conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Tennessee with the support of the Tennessee Department of Correction and a statewide taskforce of stakeholders including law enforcement, mental healthcare professionals, advocates, and families.

“We know that community partnerships and training are essential to improving outcomes for people living with mental illness and the law enforcement professionals who keep communities safe,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “This report puts a spotlight on this homegrown success story and shows the way for new communities to create successful CIT programs.”

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, was part of the CIT in Tennessee Taskforce.

The report details the current picture of Crisis Intervention Team strategies for community policing and partnerships to improve outcomes for Tennesseans living with mental illness.  The report also includes tools for communities that are interested in expanding CIT to their area.

“It's been so exciting to see all these different individuals come together and their absolute passion for CIT.  The stakeholders who contributed to this report have a significant investment in this model and a passion to do whatever they can to help other communities create CIT partnerships,” said TDMHSAS Director of Consumer Affairs and Peer Recovery Services Lisa Ragan, MSSW.

View the full report at this link.