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Open Forum   |    
An Agenda for Advancing Research on Crisis Intervention Teams for Mental Health Emergencies
Amanda Brown Cross, Ph.D.; Edward P. Mulvey, Ph.D.; Carol A. Schubert, M.P.H.; Patricia A. Griffin, Ph.D.; Sarah Filone, M.A.; Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar; David DeMatteo, J.D., Ph.D.; Kirk Heilbrun, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200566
View Author and Article Information

The authors are with the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Justice Center of Excellence. Dr. Cross, Dr. Mulvey, and Ms. Schubert are also with the Law and Psychiatry Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (e-mail: crossab@upmc.edu). Ms. Filone, Ms. Winckworth-Prejsnar, Dr. DeMatteo, and Dr. Heilbrun are also with the Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

The popularity of crisis intervention teams (CITs) for law enforcement agencies has grown dramatically over the past decade. Law enforcement agencies and advocates for individuals with mental illness view the model as a clear improvement in the way the criminal justice system handles individuals with mental illness. There is, however, only limited empirical support for the perceived effectiveness of CITs. This Open Forum analyzes research needs in this area and offers recommendations. Two major gaps in CIT research are identified: verifying that changes in officers’ attitudes and skills translate into behavioral change and determining how criminal justice–mental health partnerships affect officers’ behavior. Research addressing these gaps could help set benchmarks of success and identify evidence-based practices for CIT, substantially increasing the empirical base of support for CIT.

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Figure 1 Conceptual framework of the crisis intervention team model
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