155 East Main St., Kent, Ohio 44240

Crisis InterventionTeam Training

Sponsored by the Mental Health & Recovery Board and the Portage County Sheriff's Office, the classes will be held at the Portage County Justice Center, 8240 Infirmary Road, Ravenna. The training is free to Portage County law enforcement, behavioral health agency staff or other first responders. You can call the MHRB at 330-673-1756, ext. 201, to sign up or email your information be clicking here.

CIT Training for Law Enforcement Professionals & School Personnel

What is Crisis Intervention Team Training?
Sponsored nationally by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the CIT program trains officers and others to handle incidents involving people who have a mental illness, to manage crisis situations for the safety of everyone involved and to learn about alternatives to jail.

Communication and de-escalation techniques, uses and effects of psychotropic medication, serious emotional problems in children, dual-diagnosis of mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction, alternatives to jail, information about local service providers, are all part of the 40-hour classroom and hands-on CIT training.

The program draws from a collaboration among law enforcement, the Mental Health & Recovery Board and its network of agencies, mental health and recovery professionals, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Portage County, persons who are receiving services for a mental illness and family members.

Statistics from CIT programs across the country have shown that the training reduces injury to officers and others involved in incidents. It also decreases the number of persons in the court system because they can be diverted into community services. The Portage County Chief’s Association has adopted the Crisis Intervention Team Training as a countywide program coordinated by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County with assistance from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

The Mental Health & Recovery Board introduced the CIT program in April 2006 under the leadership of law enforcement professional Dennis Missimi who is currently a major with the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. There are now more than 200 officers trained. Every police department in the county and the Portage County Sheriff’s Department have staff trained through CIT.

In its job overseeing a system of mental health and recovery services for county residents, the Mental Health & Recovery Board is focusing on coordination that helps support persons in the community with appropriate mental health and recovery services while using funds efficiently to provide quality service. With CIT training, law enforcement professionals collaborate as gatekeepers referring at-risk individuals into services. CIT also lessens the criminalization of persons whose behaviors are driven by mental health disorders.

The end result is to reduce repeat offenses and costs to the courts and law enforcement while helping consumers have stable lives in the community. This does not apply to persons in crisis who are charged with felonies or with crimes of violence unless the victim of the crime agrees to the alternative sentencing.

For information about Portage County CIT, contact Laura at 330-673-1756, ext 201,
or by email.

CIT Education Collaboration: Training Open to All School Employees

What do we do when a child escalates to the point of harm to self and others? How do we run a safe school while creating an environment where children with mental health issues are served and supported?

The Crisis Intervention Team Education Collaboration (CITEC) training is a five day, 40-hour program developed specifically for school personnel including teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, psychologists, bus drivers and other school employees to increase awareness of mental health problems and to learn how to prevent and manage crisis situations.

CITEC is based on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for police officers. CIT was developed in 1988 in Memphis following the tragic shooting by a police officer of a man with mental illness.

Both CIT and CITEC emphasize the understanding of mental health problems, the need for community collaboration to help people with these problems and specific techniques to manage individuals who are experiencing behavioral and emotional crises. The ultimate goal in a crisis situation is to de-escalate the individual to keep everyone safe and to then get them the appropriate help that they need, such as hospitalization rather than incarceration.

The CITEC curriculum offers information about mental health disorders, bullying, sexual abuse, PTSD, depression and suicide, developmental disorders including autism, domestic violence, school safely plans and substance abuse. In addition, training focuses on community resources and de-escalation techniques and role plays to practice skills.

Organized and funded out of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, the program is a cooperative effort by a group of dedicated individuals led by teacher Carrie Suvada. Mrs. Suvada is a veteran educator of students with disabilities in the Waterloo Local School District. She is joined on the planning committee by Joel Mowrey, Ph.D., associate director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; Major Dennis Missimi of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office; and Streetsboro Officer Andy Suvada who is CIT-trained and was Ohio CIT Officer of the Year in 2008; Committee members also provide some of the training along with professionals from local education, mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies.

For more information on CIT Education Collaboration call 330-673-1756, ext 201, or by email.