As Mental Health Awareness Month gets underway, the Missoula Crisis Intervention Team is rolling out a new form to help law enforcement officers and mental health professionals coordinate responses to people experiencing mental health issues.
The CIT debuted a new mental health referral form on April 18.
“This goes above and beyond the form that we had been utilizing before,” said CIT Program Manager Theresa Williams.
The form is available at facilities where law enforcement officers often hand off people experiencing mental health crises, including Western Montana Mental Health and Providence St. Patrick Hospital.
Mental health professionals provide the form to law enforcement at the time of a hand-off as a way to gather more information about the individual receiving medical care.
“It’s very important that they have that collateral information because we don’t want to just go and take someone’s rights away,” said Williams.
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The form was created in response to the frequent quick release of people exhibiting signs of mental illness, Williams said, adding she believes a lack of consistent information across agencies has led people in these scenarios to be released before they