mental health

The state health department has agreed to provide more bed space for Louisiana inmates found incompetent to stand trial and those found not guilty of crimes by reason of insanity. 

Mallory Falk / WWNO

School is back in session. And there's a new option for students with severe mental and behavioral health needs: the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. The program recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Lisa Richardson, left, is the Director of Research & Evaluation at the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies. Denese Shervington, right, is its President & CEO.

For a couple of years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ narrative belonged to the people who endured the storm and those who helped rebuild after it. But as time went on and the city recovered, things changed. New demographics emerged and people started talking about “the new New Orleans.”

These changes left many people, including psychiatrist Denese Shervington and urban anthropologist Lisa Richardson, wondering about the city’s new identity and their place in it.

Insight: Dr. Beau Clark

Aug 14, 2015

The Lafayette theatre shootings last month brought the issues of mental health commitments and gun rights to the forefront once again. In Louisiana, coroners are often involved in initiating the process that can lead to long-term commitment. East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark speaks with Sue Lincoln about the safeguards and pitfalls of mental health protective orders.

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 most residents evacuated safely. But thousands lost homes, careers, and the lives they had known. Since then, many seem to have recovered emotionally from the trauma. But some have not.

Elizabeth Mahoney, St. Bernard resident and peer counselor.
Brett Anderson

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed is most visible in pictures of ruined houses and people’s destroyed possessions lying out on city streets. But there’s unseen damage that runs even deeper: the collective emotional trauma experienced by the thousands of people who lived through it.

Principal Nicholas Dean looks at his scarred, broken office door with resignation.

"Time to get a new lock," he says.

Over the weekend, a person or persons smashed into his office, found the keys to the school van and drove off in it.

It's another day at Crescent Leadership Academy, one of New Orleans' three second-chance schools for students who have not been successful elsewhere.

While Chiffonda Hampton was serving three years in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, she met Tonja Myles, a Peer Support Specialist with Capital Area Human Services. Myles was offering wellness classes to inmates with mental illness. Those classes taught Hampton how to cope with the anger of being abused as a child and basic life skills she had never learned before. Now that Hampton is out of prison, she continues to check in with Myles at CAHS.

Hillar Moore, was an investigator in the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office for 11 years, and a criminal defense attorney for 16 years, before he was elected DA himself.

With his long career in law enforcement, it has not escaped him that Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country.

Mental Illness Lands Many in Parish Prison

Mar 9, 2015

When someone having a mental health crisis is picked up by Baton Rouge Police, they often end up inside parish prison. Sources at Capitol Area Human Services estimate between 30 and 50 percent of inmates there are suffering with a mental illness.