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DBHDS News Releases

Media Advisory:
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Conference
to be Held Next Week in Charlottesville
CIT helps police officers make safer, better responses to individuals with mental illness in crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 16, 2012
·   Victoria Cochran, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
    Email:; Phone: (540) 392-4101
·   Stephanie Arnold, Department of Criminal Justice Services
    Email:;    Phone: (804) 371-0531

Richmond, VA  – Next week, Virginia will hold its second annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. CIT’s purpose is to address the challenging issues that often arise when law enforcement officers interact with individuals with mental illness in crisis situations. Media are invited to attend the event:

October 22-23, 2012
Omni Hotel
235 West Main Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902

This conference will bring together law enforcement, mental health professionals, and families and persons impacted by mental illness to determine better ways of serving those with serious mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system, resulting in safer communities and better outcomes for our citizens and our law enforcement officers. The conference will offer ways to improve existing programs and instruct localities in Virginia how to develop their own programs. Since last year’s conference:

The event is co-hosted by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Department of Criminal Justice Services. It is partially funded through the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Transformation Transfer Initiative. Partners include the Virginia CIT Coalition, VOCAL Virginia and NAMI-VA.  More conference information, including an agenda, can be found at  

About CIT: For individuals with mental illness, involvement in the criminal justice system can be the beginning of a dangerous cycle of homelessness, incarceration and emergency hospitalizations. Also, at the pre-arrest level, there is an increased probability of violence or injury to the individual or the officer. Through crisis intervention team (CIT) programs, police officers are specially trained in the skills and tools necessary to most effectively and safely address the behaviors of people with mental illness, prevent escalation of symptomatic behavior and determine when that behavior is better addressed in a clinical or jail setting. CIT officers recognize and respond with an increased level of awareness to the struggles of people with mental illness and can draw upon a wide range of services and supports and quickly access the most appropriate help available.  This training leads to safer crisis responses and resolutions for individuals with mental illness, the officers and anyone else involved.  

CIT efforts began in Virginia in 2001 in the New River Valley. Today, over 3,000 officers, deputies, first responder and CIT core faculty have been trained through the program, and there are 30 recognized CIT programs across the state and dozens of communities interested in developing their own programs.  


Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with a mental illness, intellectual disability or a substance-use disorder.  

1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797
Phone: (804) 786-3921
Fax: (804) 371-6638 Web site:


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