CIT training – Shown, from left, are Dr. Steven Stephen Granich; Marwin Reeves, CIT training coordinator; Dr. Stephen Gitonga; and Dr. Kristin Vincenzes.
Lock Haven University faculty from The Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems, and Human Services recently helped to deliver Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to first responders in Clinton County.
The weeklong training, October 15-19, was modeled on a specialized police-based program intended to enhance officers’ interactions with individuals suffering from mental illness. Drs. Steven Granich, Kristin Vincenzes and Stephen Gitonga, all of the Social Work and Counseling Department at LHU, got the week started by introducing the symptoms of mental illness and the effects of psychotropic medication. Drs. Ed Bowman and Dwayne Marshall, of the LHU Criminal Justice Department, also helped with the training by providing an overview of verbal de-escalation.
According to Bowman, who also served on the steering committee responsible for coordinating the training, participants learned how to recognize and respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis who also might be justice involved. “We know that a percentage of individuals with mental illness come in contact with the criminal justice system and efforts are being made to help first-responders manage that encounter and hopefully divert individuals from jail and to mental health services,” he said.
CIT has been shown to decrease injuries to both first responders and individuals with mental illness while not putting public safety at risk. The training also offered an opportunity for university faculty to support the community.
The training class included local police, probation officers, jail staff and 911 personnel and was provided through grant funding by the Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board and the Lycoming and Clinton County Crisis Intervention Team.
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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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