Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center Opens at Inova Alexandria Hospital

On March 1, the City of Alexandria opened a Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center (CITAC) as part of the City’s ongoing effort to help individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

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For Immediate Release: March 7, 2016

Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center Opens at Inova Alexandria Hospital

On March 1, the City of Alexandria opened a Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center (CITAC) as part of the City’s ongoing effort to help individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. 

CITAC is located in the Emergency Department of Inova Alexandria Hospital. Police take individuals who are in crisis to CITAC, where they can be safely evaluated by a mental health clinician and referred to resources to best meet their needs. The individual can readily address immediate mental health and medical issues, which can lead to diversion from jail.

In addition to providing a confidential and respectful environment for psychiatric evaluation and referrals to necessary resources, CITAC procedures allow police officers to return to patrol duties more quickly. Typically, when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis and is in police custody, the evaluation process takes up to eight hours. CITAC will allow police officers to transfer custody to a CITAC hospital security officer who has completed a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team training. Once the transfer of custody occurs, the police officer is able to return to patrol duties while the individual in crisis continues to receive the assistance they need. 

Across the country, CIT training and assessment locations have increased the number of persons who are referred successfully to treatment and away from the criminal justice system. In Alexandria, more than 400 first responders have completed the 40-hour CIT training, which provides them with the education and practice to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and the ability to respond compassionately and effectively. 

CITAC is funded by an annual grant of $217,792 from the State Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

For more information, contact Michelle Albert, Jail Diversion Therapist Supervisor with the Department of Community and Human Services at michelle.albert@alexandriava.gov.  On March 15, five public safety employees will be honored by the mayor, city manager, police chief and fire chief for exemplary performance in assisting persons with mental illness in crisis. All CIT graduates from the previous year will also be recognized. Media may contact Michelle Albert to attend.

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