Crisis Intervention Training in Lycoming County

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- A group of emergency responders in Lycoming County is learning how to respond better to a person experiencing a mental health crisis.

It's called the Crisis Intervention Team or CIT. This is the second year Lycoming County has offered this class to first responders in an attempt to help better understand and care for people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

Franklin Lovell gave Newswatch 16 a tour of Commerce Park Clubhouse in Williamsport where he works and has been receiving support for mental illness. He lives with depression.

"There are days where I feel sad and lonely, but coming here helps a lot," Lovell said.

The vocational and psychiatric rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness had a few visitors on Tuesday. A group of about 20 first responders stopped by to learn more about what this program has to offer.

"Very exciting to know that people are curious about our clubhouse and they want to learn more," said Lovell.

This visit is part of a weeklong Crisis Intervention Team training event. The program is meant to educate first responders on how to effectively respond to people experiencing mental health crises.

"I didn't know that it was going to be this nice in here, so for them to come in here and know the skills, like how to do wash and cook and social interaction, I think that's vital things you need to live every day, so I think that's awesome," said Penn College Police Officer Sarah Kinney.

"We get to see now where they go after we're done with them, the stages of their life recovery, different places they can come, too, to try to get back into society and live a better life," said Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police Sgt. Brian Fioretti.

The Crisis Intervention Team has been implemented to divert people away from incarceration and into treatment. Law enforcement hope those in need during a crisis can see them as a resource.

"Most people that's what they think, 'Oh, it's the worst case.' They don't realize we are trained for a lot of things, so maybe if we see you're having a mental breakdown, or if there is something serious, we can take you to the hospital," Ofc. Kinney said. "Because we are here to serve the public."

Crisis Intervention Team training continues through the week. Commerce Park Clubhouse is open Monday through Friday. People interested in learning more about the clubhouse are welcome to stop by their space in Williamsport.

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