The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT, pronounced “sit”) consists of dozens of highly trained and dedicated psychiatric and mental health professionals. CIT responds to needs for psychiatric services on the playa, performs crisis intervention for sexual assault and domestic violence victims, and provides victim advocacy to local agencies, such as law enforcement and local hospitals.
The team responded to a high number of critical incidents in 2003 by forming a separate team to perform several mental health support functions. This Crisis Intervention Team, initially modeled on the now mostly-defunct Critical Incident Stress Management/Debrief model, is designated to respond to any significant event in direct support of the on-duty MHB teams, much like many county mental health resources would respond to a school shooting or other large-scale event. Additionally CIT works closely with the Sanctuary team, a dedicated team of Ranger volunteers who provide peer crisis intervention as well as a safe space for those who need some space to recompose themselves after intense emotional or physical ordeals.
All CIT members carry pagers and are on call even when off-duty in case of a critical incident or unexpectedly high call volume. During duty shifts they work in pairs on a 24-hour on-call basis. During the peak of the event multiple teams are available to ensure service to participants who are in need. Calls for service typically takes several hours, and more complex calls can easily exceed four or six hours in length.
This team had its humble beginning back in 1998 when ESD was a sub-department in the Rangers. Then referred to as “Green Dots,” the team had a much simpler crisis intervention role.
Want to volunteer? Go to the Burning Man website to participate!