There's a lot of talk about mental health and gun violence after the school shooting in Uvalde. Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker weighed in on the issue saying her city is doing what it can and that members of the Fort Worth Police Department play a big role.
The specialized unit of the Fort Worth Police department called the Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) was created in September 2017.
"Each CIT officer in the city of Fort Worth goes through what's called Mental Health Officer Training," Fort Worth Police Sergeant Jake Hopson said.
Hopson said that officers go through 40 hours of special mental health response training.
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"Kind of explain diagnoses and different ways to respond to different crises,” Hopson said. “Persons that are experiencing different kinds of disorders that we may need to be more sensitive to in order to get closer to them to help them."
My Health My Resources Tarrant County provides that training and partners with CIT on calls.
"We provide qualified mental health professionals, along with licensed clinicians,” licensed clinical social worker and My Health My Resources Tarrant County director Leah White said.
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White said the teams are able to assess the mindset of a person in crisis. CIT is also able to provide another key component to getting someone help.
"With the Crisis Intervention Team we can be patient with individuals,” White said. “We have the time to sit down and really assess them, listen and hear them out with their concerns. And that gives us the ability to divert them to the most appropriate treatment facility."
So far in 2022 CIT has responded to 4,380 calls -- 348 suicide attempts have been stopped, 29 firearms have been seized and more than 2,200 mental health follow-up calls have been made.
"I see CIT as a staple unit not just in this department but any department,” Hopson said. “In my opinion, it's just as important as traffic, as investigation, as your SWAT team."
It's a team effort working toward a better solution.
"Preventing crisis,” White said. “Preventing the next incident in the community."