Contact: Trina Lamberthcs-hort-cmyk-coated-01
Communications Manager
610 Campus Drive
Abingdon, VA 24210


Highlands Community Services (HCS) to Host Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Core Training

ABINGDON, VA (September 12, 2019): Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programming is designed to increase the efficiency and quality of access to care for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. HCS will be holding a training at the Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy in Bristol, VA, on September 23 – 27, 2019. This training will be geared towards local and state law enforcement and will be held in conjunction with Ballad Health and other community partners.

This 40-hour training will enable officers to more effectively communicate with and understand the particular needs of individuals with mental illness. In so doing, officers will be able to reduce the potential for misunderstanding and enhance their ability to de-escalate situations involving persons with mental illness. Additionally, with education about treatment options and access to a therapeutic assessment site, officers will be able to connect individuals with behavioral health professionals, in lieu of incarceration. This is consistent with meeting the needs of public safety while accurately addressing the underlying issue of mental illness.

This training will cover several courses on a variety of behavioral health topics such as mental illness, substance use, developmental disabilities, trauma, domestic violence and suicide prevention.  Most importantly, role-play exercises will occur that will expose each participant to scenarios of what might take place during a real-life crisis situation, allowing them to practice their newly acquired CIT skills.

In  addition to Highlands Community Services staff, instructors will also be  from New River Valley Community Services Board, Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office, Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute, Virginia Highlands Community College, the Virginia Department of Veteran’s Services, Smyth County General District Court (Special Justice for Commitment Hearings) as well as private attorneys.

Each participant will leave with a certificate at the end of the week recognizing their 40 hours of training. The training is a partnership between Highlands Community Services, the Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office and the Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy.

Highlands Community Services is a multi-faceted Virginia Community Service Board providing mental health, substance use, and developmental services to the residents of Washington County and the City of Bristol, Virginia. Serving thousands of individuals each year, their goal is to provide a full continuum of care and to increase access to innovative mental health services by “improving lives and discovering possibilities along the way.” To learn more, please call 276.525.1550 or visit


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improving lives,
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