Group hopes to raise awareness about mental illness

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a problem that doesn't normally get a lot of attention until something goes very wrong, like a mass shooting. It's been just under a week since a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport. It is believed the gunman suffers from a mental illness, which is something seen more than enough recently.

So, what needs to be done to get people to pay more attention to it to help solve the problem before it explodes? One group in Louisiana is hoping to help.

There have been 11 mass shootings in the US over the past two years. Earlier this week, CBS News put together a timeline with a list of the tragedies.

While not all of the shootings have been connected to mental illness, many of them were and that's why political analyst Clay Young said it's time for the public to push lawmakers to make some serious changes as soon as possible.

Young said the nation is facing a trend that is a recipe for disaster. There have been billions of dollars in cuts to some existing mental health treatment facilities and the shutdown of others.

So far, Louisiana has been fortunate to not have been hit by the negative effects of untreated mental illness, but he said the state is not immune.

Young added the community needs to quickly get comfortable with openly discussing mental illness and then encouraging lawmakers to come up with a plan to best treat the people of Louisiana.

The group Mental Health America of Louisiana is hosting several forums across the state, which it hopes sparks some serious conversations about mental health.

Discussions will be about things like service gaps, eligibility of appeal rights and ways to improve community support.

Forum Dates

Acadiana Region:

December 16th * 11:30 am -1:30pm & 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Lafayette Library-South Regional Branch - 6101 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503

Central Region:

November 8th * 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Central State Hospital (Education Bldg.) - 242 W. Shamrock St., Pineville, LA 71361-5031

Greater Baton Rouge Region:

November 5th * 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Louisiana Resource Center for Educators - 5550 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Greater New Orleans:

December 3rd * 2:30 pm - 4:30pm

Hosted by New Orleans Health Department

Location: TBA

Jefferson Parish:


Northeast Region:

December 13th * 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Ouachita Parish Health Unit - 1650 Desiard St., Monroe, LA 71201

Northwest Region:

November 19th * 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Hamilton/South Caddo Public Library - 2111 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport, LA 71118

Southeast Region:

November 14th * 6:30 pm - 8:30pm

Catholic Charities Pastoral Conf. Center - 69090 East Hwy 190 Service Rd., Covington, LA 70433

South Central Region:


Southwest Region:

November 15th * 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Epps Memorial Library - 1320 North Simmons St., Lake Charles, LA. 70601

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