BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There’s new hope in Baton Rouge for people suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems.
The Bridge Center for Hope, which will open later this month, held a walk-through for members of the media and community Tuesday, Dec. 15.
“It’s really good, particularly right now at Christmas. All that’s going on this year with the numbers of murders, the number of opioids, heroin-related deaths this year….that doubled last year. We’ve been crying out for this place,” says East Baton Rouge’s District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Officials say the facility gives people in need a welcoming and safe environment. The center provides a detox unit, a psychiatric unit, hot meals, a laundry facility, and a place to sleep.
It will also provide help for any community members in need, as well as people working in emergency rooms and jails.
“All of the first responders want to be able to not bring someone to jail or to the emergency room that is not equipped to handle a mental health patient. Things go bad from there; they get left behind. They’re hurt, they hurt themselves…they get left there. So, this is a place of hope,” adds Moore.
Community leaders fought to find funding for the center after initially voting it down. Taxpayers finally gave the approval for tax funding during the second vote in 2018.
“Often voters see issues with the face of an individual on it. I think that was a changing point, the increase in awareness around the impact of mental health in our community I think also added,” says Mayor Sharon Weston Broome.
The center will operate 24 hours, seven days a week. Anyone in need of help will be eligible for treatment regardless of the type of insurance or lack of insurance. All the resources will be under one roof to allow patients to go through the stages of help they need.
The Bridge Center for Hope will open to the public for a walk-through tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and of course, masks will be required while touring the facility.
For more information on the Bridge Center for Hope, click here.
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