A network of mental and behavioral health centers to be established with the help of $1 million in federal funds will provide clinical services from licensed professionals to vulnerable communities in East Baton Rouge Parish, Mayor- President Sharon Weston Broome and Congressman Troy Carter.
The resource centers will be targeted to specific areas using factors such as crime, substance abuse, housing insecurity and violence, according to a press release.
“Mental health care is health care,” Carter, D-New Orleans, wrote in a statement. “We need to take care of our body, mind, and spirit to build a happy, fulfilling life and a strong, safe community.”
Broome, along with representatives from Carter’s office, announced the funding during June 19 celebrations downtown.
The money will fund the Baton Rouge Institute for Growth and Health After Trauma, or BRIGHT, Initiative. The centers will provide mental health care for children and young adults, said James Bernhard, Carter’s deputy chief of staff.
“So many kids in our community have trauma in their lives that everyone needs a little help dealing with,” Bernhard said. “One thing we don’t do very well in this country is meet people with mental health issues where they are before they interact with law enforcement or end up in the emergency room. You shouldn’t have to be in crisis to get mental health treatment.”
The facilities are meant to offer a different type of treatment than patients would receive from the Bridge Center for Hope, which typically treats those in immediate crisis, Bernhard said. BRIGHT centers will instead try to reach people before they need the intensive care offered by the Bridge Center, Bernhard said.
“Increasing access to mental health and trauma resources for families in East Baton Rouge is essential to supporting a safe, hopeful and healthy community,” Broome wrote in a statement. “Congressman Carter is a wonderful partner, helping bring these resources to the neighborhoods that need them most, improving public safety and quality of life.”