Stepping Up Quarterly Newsletter February 2023 Edition

Stepping Up-Alternatives to Incarceration: Quarterly Newsletter-February 2023

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Welcome to the Stepping Up-Alternatives to Incarceration Quarterly Newsletter from Southwest Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region (Region). The purpose of the newsletter is to keep key stakeholders in the Region informed of the status of the Stepping Up-Alternatives to Incarceration Initiative in Southwest Iowa.


In this issue, we will share information about Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) being funded by the Southwest Iowa MHDS Region and offered to our local law enforcement free of charge in September 11-15,2023 and another opportunity for the training April 15-19, 2024.

Crisis Intervention Training in Southwest Iowa

The national implementation of 911 in the 1970’s combined with the absence of a consistent mental health crisis service system has resulted, for decades, in law enforcement serving as the first point of contact for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Unfortunately, the result for some is unnecessary periods of incarceration that worsen the symptoms of mental illness.


Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training can improve the outcome of contacts between law enforcement and individuals in mental health crisis by reducing arrests of individuals with mental illness. According to NAMI,

  • CIT programs create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illness and their families. Through collaborative community partnerships and intensive training, CIT improves communication, identifies mental health resources for those in crisis and ensures officer and community safety.

In addition to reducing unnecessary arrests of individuals with mental illness, NAMI states that CIT trainings

  • Give police officers more tools to do their job safely and effectively. Research shows that CIT is associated with improved officer attitude and knowledge about mental illness. In Memphis, for example, CIT resulted in an 80% reduction of officer injuries during mental health crisis calls.
  • Keep law enforcement’s focus on crime. Some communities have found that CIT has reduced the time officers spend responding to a mental health call. This puts officers back into the community more quickly.
  • Produce cost savings. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much diversion programs can save communities. But incarceration is costly compared to community-based treatment. For example, in Detroit an inmate with mental illness in jail costs $31,000 a year, while community-based mental health treatment costs only $10,000 a year.

*Information above was attained from Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness


How Can Our Law Enforcement Be Trained in CIT?

The next CIT Training will be offered by Solution Point Plus, September 11-15, 2023 (40 hour training).Time each day for the training is 0800-1600ish. There will be 20 seats available for this training (first come first served). Location is not yet determined but it will be located in Southwest Iowa.  Stay tuned for more information and registration on our region website at:

Suzanne Watson, CEO of the Southwest Iowa MHDS Region, has worked diligently to get Solution Point Plus to our region for the best Critical Incident Training and self-care training we can provide for our law enforcement. The Region's Governing Board has been gracious enough to cover the cost of the training and food each day to allow law enforcement staff to receive this training at minimal cost to their budgets. 

If you or one of your employees in the law enforcement field (Sheriff or local Police Department) would like to attend the CIT trainings in September of 2023, please reach out to Danelle Bruce at [email protected].  

Danelle will be able to provide more information about this important training.

We are also including some links below to Solution Point Plus's website and some YouTube videos on this company so you can see what they are teaching nationwide. Please forward this to any police departments within our jurisdiction so we don’t miss anyone in our area.

The CIT trainings that occurred in July and August 2022 and then again January 2023 were well received by the Law Enforcement that attended. We had approximately 56 Law Enforcement trained in CIT in those months. The feedback on the training was very positive with most attendees stating that they were very satisfied with the quality of the training and that it was extremely beneficial and that they would very likely recommend this training to others.  Here are a few pictures below from the training from July of Joe and Jesse (Solution Point Plus trainers).  

The SWIA MHDS Region's Crisis Stabilization Services

Mental Health Crisis Response Team

Provides multiple crisis service

Precommital screening for residents of the SWIA Region

Assessments for court ordered committals

Telehealth Crisis Response available to SWIA Region residents. Services include assessment, stabilization and referrals to community services. This service can only be initiated by Law Enforcement

These services are expanding into all counties in the Region

For further information, Law Enforcement can contact Jenny Stewart (Director) at 712-325-5619

"To avoid the need for an Emergency Protective Custody hold or inpatient psychiatric hospitalization"

Service provided by Heartland Family Service
Harbor Point Crisis Stabilization Residential Service (CSRS)

Call 712-303-7066 to make a referral

Referrals accepted 24 hours a day

A screening set up within 24 hours

Accepts referrals from friends, family, emergency departments and outpatient providers

Accepts referrals from Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties

"Provides a safe, caring, and home-like environment to those with a mental illness in crisis while modeling skills needed to successfully navigate in the community"

Service provided by Zion Integrated Behavioral Health Services

988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. That could be:

  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Mental health or substance use crisis, or
  • Any other kind of emotion distress

People can call or text 988 or chat for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

988 serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live in the United States, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.

Your Life Iowa provides free, confidential support and connects you to resources meant to help you get your life back on track when derailed by alcohol, drugs, gambling, suicidal thoughts or mental health. 

Available 24/7 at (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398. 

Have a question? You can also live chat with a representative on 

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please dial 911