Since 2008, several organizations in the Tri-Cities have worked together to bring six crisis intervention training workshops to police officers, corrections personnel and other agency staff who may encounter people living with a mental illness.
The training is a 40-hour workshop that provides participants with background information on different mental illnesses, medication and treatment for these illnesses and community services available to someone who may be experiencing a crisis.
The participants talk with consumers who are in recovery; they roleplay scenarios and they hear real-life family members' stories. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Tri-Cities chapter, the state Department of Human Services, the Kennewick Police Department, the Benton Franklin Mental Health Alliance, Greater Columbia Behavioral Health, and the Ombudsman Services are all involved in the planning and implementation of this training.
Each organization brings a little different perspective to the table, but the end result is well worth the effort. In addition, numerous local mental health agency personnel speak about important topics that are part of the training. This training gives officers another tool to use to try to diffuse a difficult situation when mental illness may well be the root of the problem.
Knowing there are some CIT trained law enforcement personnel available to respond to a situation involving a mentally ill person gives us some peace of mind.
JUDY and JOHN COX, Richland