Louisiana to get $15 Million for Mental Health Services

BY Bridget DeSimone  August 26, 2010 at 4:54 PM EDT

Tonight on the NewsHour, health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser will look at the mental health toll that the “double whammy” of Hurricane Katrina, followed by the oil spill, has taken on residents of Louisiana.

Recently, BP announced that it would give $52 million for mental health services in the states most affected by the spill, including $15 million for Louisiana. State officials told the NewsHour that the $6.75* million will go to Catholic Charities, and the rest will be distributed as follows:

$4.9 million will go to the Louisiana Spirit Program: 10 teams consisting of outreach workers, counselors will be distributed to impacted areas covering Orleans/St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Tammany, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.

$2.16 million will go to Clinical Treatment and Therapy. It will provide psychiatric and substance abuse treatment including medication supports for person referred for intense treatment needs.

$500,000 will go to Other State-related Services include funds for training and counseling hours to address surge in domestic violence issues via interagency transfer of funds to the Department of Children and Family Services.

$444,000 will go to State-level Best Practice Monitoring and Technical Assistance – will provide quality assurance monitoring, evaluation, technical assistance and reporting for delivery of services to the individuals in the impacted communities.

$250,000 will to to additional training, mental health assessments and screenings, follow-up and evaluation will be provided by LSUHSC Department of Psychiatry as well as consultation for mental health and substance providers of services to the impacted communities.

Updated August 27, 2010, 4 p.m.

In addition to private, independent mental health providers in the region, the following resources are available to individuals in the disaster-affected areas of Louisiana:

*The St. Bernard Project’s Center for Health and Wellness — which hosted a focus group the NewsHour attended in the story that aired Thursday — has team of psychiatrists, psychiatry residents, licensed clinical social workers and clinical psychology postdoctoral fellows that provide individual and group therapy and wellness classes free of charge.

*The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Louisiana Spirit Program provides crisis counselors available in person in the parishes along the disaster-affected areas, or residents can call a toll-free hotline 24 hours a day at (866) 310-7977. Additional information and mental health resources can be found at www.LouisianaSpirit.org.

*Catholic Charities is offering relief services, case management and crisis counseling at five locations in the disaster-affected areas of Louisiana. For families in need can also call the toll-free Catholic Charities Care Line: 1-866-891-2210

*A previous version of this blog stated that Catholic Charities would receive $6.6 million, the correct figure is $6.75 million.