Eastpointe Helps Train Wayne County First Responders to Better Serve Citizens With Behavioral Health Challenges 

Eastpointe Helps Train Wayne County First Responders to Better Serve Citizens With Behavioral Health Challenges 

On July 21, Eastpointe and its community partners completed Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for 22 first responders, including 18 from Wayne County. The training was held at Wayne Community College. 

Wayne County graduates included representatives from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Goldsboro Police Department, Goldsboro Fire Department, Arrington Volunteer Fire Department, and Rosewood Volunteer Fire Department.  

Other organizations with graduates included Greene County EMS, the Mt. Olive Police Department, and the Warsaw Police Department. 

CIT training helps first responders better recognize citizens dealing with a mental health or substance use challenge or an intellectual or developmental disability. It teaches them how to de-escalate stressful situations and ensures they can connect those in crisis with the resources and healthcare they need. As the area’s behavioral health challenges continue to grow, so too is the need for this training. 

CIT graduate Ronald Carrasquillo of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said, “This course has provided me [with] a better understanding on how to…[handle] different…people with…[mental health disabilities], drug problems, and alcohol problems.” 

Graduate Brandon Jones of the Goldsboro Fire Department said that the course “changed my perspective on the various mental illnesses that we come in contact with almost on a daily basis.” 

This week-long training includes role-playing scenarios first responders may encounter in the field and roundtable discussions with citizens with behavioral health challenges. The goal of these techniques is to learn to respond with empathy after recognizing a behavioral health issue.  

Eastpointe’s Chief of Regulations and Compliance, Theresa Moody, noted that “preserving our communities’ mental health and effectively addressing our substance use challenges requires collaboration between behavioral health professionals and first responders. Eastpointe is in a unique position to strengthen these partnerships and ensure people experiencing behavioral health challenges are connected to the most effective resources. The partnerships we’ve built with first responders in Wayne County have been critical in that effort.” 

Since it began coordinating CIT training sessions in 2008, Eastpointe and its partners have trained 243 Wayne County first responders.