First responders gain wellness support

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New website, nvcit.org, focuses on proven crisis response training as well as assistance for first responders, hospital staff, mental health providers and families. Courtesy of Nevada Momentum

CARSON CITY – Statewide partners collaborated to launch Nevada’s first website focused on first responder Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and other behavioral health resources which can be found at nvcit.org.

CIT training is a 40-hour, evidence-based behavioral health training model focused on first responders, which brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital staff and individuals with mental illness as well as their families to improve responses to people in crisis.

“This is a robust site for first responder behavioral health training and wellness in Nevada,” said Taylor Allison, executive director of Partnership Douglas County, which administers the site and connects anyone in the community to the appropriate CIT coordinator in their area.

In spring 2019, after attending a community forum with Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong and other key stakeholders presenting on behavioral health issues and programs, Ruvato CEO Bill Tincup approached the presenters and asked how his software development company could support behavioral health initiatives in the Northern Nevada region.

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Law enforcement, first responders and other community partners have long seen a need for a crisis intervention training website that can increase community awareness about CIT, assist in CIT coordinator collaboration statewide, as well as support emergency responder and community provider skillfulness when responding to vulnerable populations in Nevada communities.

Jessica Flood, northern regional behavioral health coordinator for Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, worked with Ruvato and led CIT coordinators as well as other partners around the state to develop the website.

“This website is a platform for first responders and community providers to connect to CIT training,” Flood said. “The site also serves as a tool for providers and families to find crisis resources available locally, regionally and statewide. CIT coordinators from Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Humboldt and Elko counties — along with Las Vegas Metro — all participated in developing the website, really strengthening collaboration between the programs across the state.”

In Flood’s role she coordinates regional projects, trainings and programs that connect service providers to individuals in need of behavioral health services. CIT is one of those programs. She supports the Northern Regional Behavioral Health Policy Board, one of Nevada’s five behavioral health boards identified by the Nevada legislature. The policy board has identified CIT — and increasing the number of trained law enforcement officers — as one of its priority areas in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

“One of the timely benefits of launching the website right now is being able to reach individuals who are experience stress and anxiety from the pandemic,” Allison said. “The website also includes a First Responder Wellness tab, aiming to connect first responders and healthcare providers needing peer support to all of the available resources.”

CIT benefits include the following:

· Improved officer knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy in responding to mental health crisis.

· Decreased levels of officer use of force through emphasizing de-escalation and linkage to mental health services.

· Improved community confidence in officer response to mental health calls.

· Decreased system costs through diverting individuals with mental illness from the criminal justice system and hospital emergency rooms.

· Improved likelihood of treatment continuity with community-based providers. Nevada CIT has also launched both a related Facebook page (facebook.com/NevadaCIT ) and Twitter profile (@Nevada_CIT) to help cross-promote the website’s resources and keep the community connected.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit nvcit.org/find-support-in-crisis to quickly access assistance options.

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