An Examination of Crisis Intervention Teams in Rural Jurisdictions

Community Ment Health J. 2021 Oct;57(7):1388-1398. doi: 10.1007/s10597-021-00797-7. Epub 2021 Feb 26.


A disproportionate number of people with mental illness are involved in critical police encounters resulting in arrest and/or excessive use of force. In response, many jurisdictions have implemented Crisis Intervention Team training. This mixed method study used survey and focus group interview data to investigate Crisis Intervention Teams in rural communities in a Northeastern state in the U.S. Findings indicate that unique situational realities prevent optimal effectiveness of Crisis Intervention Teams in rural jurisdictions. Three themes emerged as clear barriers to effectiveness: (a) time and money; (b) buy-in and support for Crisis Intervention Teams; and (c) systemic barriers to adequate care. Rural-specific impediments affect each aspect and member of Crisis Intervention Teams in rural jurisdictions. Efforts to develop a specialized police response training program for rural jurisdictions should be developed and examined.

Keywords: Community responses; Crisis intervention training; Mental illness; Police.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crisis Intervention*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Police
  • Rural Population