As persons with mental illnesses and law enforcement become increasingly entangled, the collaboration of police and mental health service providers has become critical to appropriately serving the needs of individuals experiencing mental health crises. This article introduces the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Model as a collaborative approach to safely and effectively address the needs of persons with mental illnesses, link them to appropriate services, and divert them from the criminal justice system if appropriate. We discuss the key elements of the CIT model, implementation and its related challenges, as well as variations of the model. While this model has not undergone enough research to be deemed an Evidence-Based Practice, it has been successfully utilized in many law enforcement agencies worldwide and is considered a "Best Practice" model in law enforcement. This primer for mental health practitioners serves as an introduction to a model that may already be utilized in their community or serve as a springboard for the development CIT programs where they do not currently exist.
Keywords: BEST PRACTICE; CIT; CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM; LAW ENFORCEMENT; MENTAL HEALTH.