Crisis Services of Erie County Advances Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for Police Officers

Andrea Wanat

Behavioral Health Team Update

By Andrea J. Wanat, MA, CPP, Director of Behavioral Health

Focusing on the Big Picture

The Behavioral Health (BH) Team at Millennium Collaborative Care has been challenged by the NYS Department of Health to improve upon several identified behavioral health metrics for the Medicaid population in the eight-county area we serve.

Some of the metrics include the following:


  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Diabetes Monitoring for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bi-polar disorders
  • Adherence to antipsychotic medications for individuals identified with schizophrenias
  • Inpatient behavioral health discharge with a timely follow-up within 7 and 30 days with a mental health professional
  • Reduction in unnecessary Emergency Department visits for behavioral health patients

To move the needle on the metrics identified above, the BH team has pulled together workgroups with inpatient behavioral health partners, outpatient clinic providers, county government leaders, managed care organizations and community based agencies.

Workgroup members brainstormed ideas and then identified strategies to rapidly impact the identified targeted measures. In the first few meetings, the group focused on building better lines of communication among inpatient hospital and mental health outpatient clinics to work on the 7-day follow-up measure.

Members identified key “relationship managers” to improve the lines of communication and shared best practices and strategies. In addition, the group developed a workflow for addressing CVD and diabetes monitoring metric, and collaborated with additional partners to address the need to screen individuals who have schizophrenia and/or bipolar diagnoses since comorbid health conditions are common with those diagnoses.

Although this is a large project and a big reach, the group is making a concerted effort to work together to make a difference to ignite health care change and improve the health and wellness of the individuals served.

Police Training Efforts Aimed at Behavioral Health Metrics
To address the metric of reducing unnecessary Emergency Department (ED) visits for behavioral health issues, the Community Crisis Stabilization Team is partnering with Crisis Services of Erie County to train police officers in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT).

Kristin Adduci, LMHC, the Crisis Intervention Team Training Coordinator and Program Supervisor for CIT Crisis Case Management at Crisis Services explained the training efforts.

“We just completed Crisis Intervention Team Training for Buffalo Police Department in early March,” said Kristin. “The officers are very dedicated and motivated to put their new skills into practice. With the increased awareness and funding directed at CIT Training, it’s clear that the system of care will see a significant impact because the training focuses on diversion and directing clients to community resources.”

Other efforts by the Crisis Stabilization Team include the development of a universal mental health triage tool and accompanying protocols and training which is currently being piloted with several partner agencies at their sites.

Jessica C. Pirro, LMSW, Chief Executive Officer, Crisis Services, explains that collaboration by Millennium Collaborative Care and other support agencies has been essential to enabling Crisis Services to meet the increasing demand for Crisis Intervention Team training.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing (MEB) – Just Tell One Campaign

The launch of the Just Tell One public awareness campaign has helped to raise awareness of the mental health and addiction issues most prominently identified in a community-wide needs assessment in late 2014. The campaign is being spearheaded by The Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. (MHA) in collaboration with The Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA). It is contracted through Millennium Collaborative Care and Community Partners of WNY.

If you haven’t yet checked out the real-life stories shared by local youth ranging in age from 18-26, please do so at

You will find stories on depression, suicide prevention, alcohol abuse and substance abuse along with resource guides ready to download in PDF format. In addition, professionals in the field provide visitors to the site with tips on how to talk to someone who is experiencing a behavioral health issue.


Please follow the Just Tell One stories and information on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Just Tell One spokesperson Tee and JT1 project director Carol Doggett, Director of Community Awareness, Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc.


Results for the first five months of the campaign — from launch (Nov 1, 2016) to March 31, 2017 include:

  •  16,649 total website sessions
  •  23,916 page views
  • 18,937 engaged Facebook users
  • 573,783 video views



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The Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) is the parent organization of Millennium Collaborative Care

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