The program consists of a review of mental illness types, causes and symptoms, structured de-escalation techniques, and scenario-based training. The main presenter was Jodi Long, LISW, LICDC, Director of Clinical Services and Evaluation for the Tri-County Board. Speaking on de-escalation techniques from the perspective of a law enforcement officer was Sgt. Stephanie Black of the Tipp City Police Department.
Also addressing the class was Meredith Grosvenor of Troy and volunteer for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) chapter in Miami County, who related the experience of mental health crisis involving 9-1-1 dispatchers and police officers from the perspective of the person in crisis.
Long said the purpose of the training is to “provide information and techniques for handling crisis calls involving a person in or experiencing a mental health crisis. It’s a small fraction of the total number of calls dispatchers handle in any given shift, but the stakes may be very high, such as in a threatened suicide, where the safety of the caller or responding officer or EMT may depend on a quick and accurate assessment of the situation.”
In the scenario-based training, staff from the Tri-County Board, from SafeHaven, and from Darke County Recovery Services placed simulated 9-1-1 emergency calls from persons exhibiting various symptoms and severity of mental health conditions. Each training participant had to quickly engage the caller, assess the situation and resolve the crisis.
The training for 9-1-1 Dispatchers is a companion course to the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Academy for Law Enforcement Officers. The four-day intensive training will be April 28-May 1. The CIT Academy and companion courses are presented at no charge by the Tri-County Board, with additional support from NAMI Ohio. The training is funded by local levy funds.
CIT training is a partnership between the Tri-County Board and local law enforcement agencies. Since the first area CIT Academy in 2006, 150 law enforcement officers from all but four law enforcement agencies in Darke, Miami and Shelby counties have completed the training. Companion courses for dispatchers, for college personnel, and for mental health professionals strengthen and broaden the understanding and cooperation among agencies to help law enforcement responders be more effective in dealing with persons in mental health crisis, and with placing those with behavioral health needs into the appropriate treatment and recovery environments.
For information about the Crisis Intervention Team training or companion courses, contact Brad Reed, Director of Community Resource Development, 1100 Wayne Street, Troy, or visit the Board’s website at www.mdsadamhs.mh.state.oh.us.