NEWS and EVENTSCrisis Intervention Training - 2011
Every year for over a decade NAMI Athens has been involved with other local entities in organizing week-long Crisis Intervention Training for local police and other first responders. CIT is designed to train these officers to recognize persons in mental health crises - the subjects of about a tenth of all police calls - deescalate, and take them for help rather than to jail. To date SE Ohio CIT has trained over 220 such individuals from nearly twenty entities in the region. As a result, there have been many jail diversions and, undoubtedly, some lives have been saved.
In 2008, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and NAMI Ohio gave SE Ohio CIT the "CIT Program of the Year" award. One of the things that makes the SE Ohio CIT program special is that it is adapted to a rural - rather than urban - setting. Rather than training a large number of officers from one department all at once, our model trains one or two from many entities year after year. And we give a very liberal interpretation to the term first responders. In November 2011, for instance, of thirty individuals trained, there were officers from various police and sheriff's departments, OU and Hocking College Police, correctional officers from local jails and prisons, police from hospitals, and even one person who frequently acts as a "first responder" in mental health crises in his role as a Residence Life Coordinator at Ohio University.
As usual, NAMI in 2011 was responsible for contributing to, and handling the budget. In addition, our hard-working Office Manager, Lori Kinney, moderated some segments. But the core of NAMI's contribution were the consumer and family presentations. The keynote on the first day was Milt Greek with "Schizophrenia from the Inside Out." The next day, the participants got to hear about several disorders from consumers and to learn what it is like to have a loved one with mental illness from parents of consumers. Finally, on the third day a PTSD-wounded Vietnam veteran gave a gripping description of the trauma he suffered, what it was like to be untreated afterwards, and his recovery in the last decade.