What is the difference between Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety (MHFA) and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training programs?

Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety

Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety is an eight-hour training curriculum specifically for law enforcement officers with the goal of increasing mental health awareness. It offers information and skills to support someone with mental health issues and someone who is in a mental health crisis. It is an evidence-based best practice, run by the National Council for Behavioral Health and Missouri Department of Mental Health. The training provides an overview of mental health disorders, suicide, and intervention strategies.


Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training programs are 40-hour Advanced Officer Training. The training covers a variety of topics including mental illness signs and symptoms, working with older adults, veterans and PTSD, verbal de-escalation and tactical response, substance use disorders, risk assessment and crisis intervention skills and law enforcement response and legal issues. This training also includes role plays and scenarios with people with lived experience. CIT is not just training, it is a large-scale community collaborative program with the goal of improving safety, increasing connections to effective and timely mental health services, using law enforcement purposely during crisis and reducing the trauma people experience in mental health crises.

It is not recommended that Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety be used to replace CIT Training, instead it can be used to enhance it. MHFA for Public Safety is an educational opportunity that serves to teach law enforcement about mental illness and crisis response in a one day free training. CIT involves a community response and collaborative approach to transform how behavioral health crisis response services are delivered and although there is a cost to receive the week long training, there is strong evidence that implementing this program increases the likelihood of positive outcomes for law enforcement, the person experiencing the crisis and the community.

For more information on CIT, visit the CIT International website.

For more information on MHFA, visit the Mental Health First Aid website.

To learn about MHFA or CIT training for law enforcement, read this white paper.

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