An Agenda for Advancing Research on Crisis Intervention Teams for Mental Health Emergencies



Amanda Brown Cross, Ph.D.; Edward P. Mulvey, Ph.D.; Carol A. Schubert, M.P.H.; Patricia A. Griffin, Ph.D.; Sarah Filone, M.A.; Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar; David DeMatteo, J.D., Ph.D.; Kirk Heilbrun, Ph.D.

Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/

April 1, 2014



The popularity of crisis intervention teams (CITs) for law enforcement agencies has grown dramatically over the past decade. Law enforcement agencies and advocates for individuals with mental illness view the model as a clear improvement in the way the criminal justice system handles individuals with mental illness. There is, however, only limited empirical support for the perceived effectiveness of CITs. This Open Forum analyzes research needs in this area and offers recommendations. Two major gaps in CIT research are identified: verifying that changes in officers’ attitudes and skills translate into behavioral change and determining how criminal justice–mental health partnerships affect officers’ behavior. Research addressing these gaps could help set benchmarks of success and identify evidence-based practices for CIT, substantially increasing the empirical base of support for CIT.





Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee