De-institutionalization of mental health patients has evolved, over nearly 3 generations now, to a status quo of mental health patients experiencing myriad contacts with first-responders, primarily police, in lieu of care. The current institutions in which these patients rotate through are psychiatric emergency units, emergency rooms, jails, and prisons. Although more police are now specially trained to respond to calls that involve mental health patients, the criminalization of persons with mental illness has been steadily increasing over the past several decades. There have also been deaths. The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model fosters mental health acumen among first responders, and facilitates collaboration among first responders, mental health professionals, and mental health patients and their families. Here, we review some modern, large city configurations of CIT, the co-responder model, the mitigating effects of critically situated community-based programs, as well as barriers to the success of joint efforts to better address this pressing problem.