Can the involvement of peers (individuals with lived experience with mental illness) improve the training for law enforcement personnel who respond to mental health emergency/crisis situations?

During Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training or other training’ for law enforcement officers working with people in a mental health crisis, peers are asked to participate as trainers for the law enforcement officers. Frequently they participate in role plays, providing a more realistic experience of approaching and engaging a person with a serious psychiatric disorder. If the local community has a mobile crisis team this should be included in the training. A role play with an individual “in crisis”, a mobile crisis team with a peer specialist, and law enforcement would be extremely useful and is probably being used in community CIT or other training’s already.

To date we have been unable to find any published articles or reports on using peer support in conjunction with CIT or other similar training’s. I recommend that you contact CIT International, Inc at or contact your local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) office. NAMI provides much of the training and program support around the country.

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