Recently, NAMI released a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Manual for Youth to benefit families, police, schools, and mental health professionals. To view a PDF format of this manual, you can click HERE. NAMI recommends this manual for civic leaders working with police and schools, who would like to help build community partnerships in helping youth in crisis. Medical News Today stated

CIT for youth programs improve responses to youth in psychiatric crisis. They rely on de-escalation techniques and community partnerships that connect young people to treatment rather than to arrest and detention.

“Adult CIT programs exist in 40 states, but an urgent need exists for programs focused specifically on youth,” said NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick. “NAMI’s manual is aimed at building community partnerships to support police training and diversion practices. Schools must play an important role.”

I think it is great that NAMI is coming out with a manual like this for local communities. Having worked in a an inpatient psychiatric facility, I really feel many families and probably police do not know how to handle children with psychiatric illness. Many families tend to drop off their children with the expectation that the hospital will just “fix” what is wrong with their children. Through setting up a CIT and creating community partnerships between families, schools, and police, everyone involved in the child’s treatment is much more prepared, and their treatment can be more beneficial. What are your thoughts on setting up programs on training police and school officials? Is it beneficial? Or is the cost more than the reward?

I looked at the CIT program associated with the NAMI in my city, and there was some information, but not a whole lot. It did state that they now offer suicide awareness programs to anyone who interested, and after reading a little bit about that program, I realized the CIT was who came to my school a couple years ago to teach us more about suicide awareness and what to do if someone is suicidal. The presentation had incorporated information from a local police officer who was also in charge of “talking people down” on the phone if they did come across someone who was suicidal.

Overall, I do feel that this program would be helpful. After all, being in a psychological crisis is quite scary, let alone for a child. I hope to see more of what this program can offer in terms of specifically targeting youth in addition to adults.


Please note, if you or someone you know is at risk of harm to themselves (or others) PLEASE call either your local police station, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Intervention Team for Youth
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