The 2013 Round of CIT Training for Police
Every year for the last eleven years, the Athens area CIT Committee, of which NAMI is a part, has run a five-day Crisis Intervention Training program for area law enforcement officers and other first responders. Designed to teach SE Ohio officers to recognize persons in mental health crises and get them to help rather than jail, our award-winning program had trained around 250 people as of last year’s course. This year, during the second week of November, we trained another 30, bringing the grand total to nearly 280.
From the beginning, NAMI has had two roles in CIT Training:
- We are the non-profit organization which handles the money contributed by the 317 Board, NAMI Ohio, other sources, as well as NAMI Athens, itself.
- Our NAMI is in charge of organizing the consumer and family components of the CIT experience. This component has always featured family and consumer panels – the latter composed of individuals in recovery from the major mental illnesses.
The consumer panel featured individuals in sound recovery from borderline, schizoaffective and bipolar disorders.
Given the ongoing wars in the Middle East, for several years we have also had personal consumer presentations on war-inflicted Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This year, our trainees also heard a very moving presentation by a young veteran, Eric Burke, about his traumatic experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, his return to the US, his PTSD, and his eventual treatment. You may want to listen to Burke in a NAMI interview on WOUB.
The primordial purpose of the consumer and family input is to show the police that mental illness effects good people and that the agitated and confrontational “offenders” in a mental health crisis – about ten percent of their calls – deserve their respect and compassion.
For more on this year’s training, see the article in the Athens News.