BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When law enforcement or EMS respond to someone having a psychotic breakdown but might not need emergency medical attention and isn’t posing as a public threat, putting them behind bars or having them wait for several hours to receive medical attention is almost counterproductive.
“And every call we go to its not always necessarily a criminal call, people may be seeking some help,” said L’Jean McKneely with BRPD.
Which is where the Bridge Center for Hope is looking to make a difference.
“So, we know there is a lot of issues with mental health. We know that since the institutionalization of a hospital a lot of mental health services have become [re]laxed and people are either undeserved or not served at all. So, we realize that,” said Executive Director Charlotte Claiborne.
A problem that city leaders saw needed to be fixed. Especially with the rise in substance abuse during the pandemic.
“And EMS workers throughout the country not just here, are extremely busy. So, anytime we can elevate and eliminate patients that don’t need emergency care from using emergency systems, EMS, as well as the emergency rooms at the hospitals that’s a plus for everybody involved,” said Mike Chutz with Baton Rouge EMS.
“And this is a resource that we can lean on and provide to individuals that we may contact and giving them some direction in dealing with some issues that they may be having,” said McKneely.
The clinic will provide a detox unit, psychiatric unit, fresh meals, laundry facility and even a place to sleep until you’ve recovered. The clinic will cover the cost of those living in EBR parish through taxpayer money, but that doesn’t mean that others won’t be welcome.
“They have what is called a ‘no wrong door policy.’ and what that means is anyone is welcome to come and receive services. and then we also have a grant that will be able to help those immigrants outside the parish as well,” Claiborne explained.
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