The mission of the Bridge Center is to provide pathways to treatment for people experiencing behavioral health issues and to link providers to create an integrated continuum of care from prevention to rehabilitation.
The number of people with mental illness in jails has been increasing in the United States since the deinstitutionalization movement began in the 1950’s. Over the years, the problem has worsened in East Baton Rouge Parish due to a lack of community resources and the closure of several state hospitals.
When individuals with mental health issues were apprehended for nonviolent minor offenses, first responders had just two options: costly emergency rooms or parish prisons. This meant that in Baton Rouge, detainees were frequently crammed together with over-stretched resources. As a result, persons with mental illness were suffering behind bars.
Simply, it was too much. From 2013 to 2015, five people with mental illness perished in a parish prison. One of these individuals was David O’Quin. David’s father, Bill O’Quin, approached the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) with a request to decriminalize mental illness. Working with behavioral health officials and justice system leaders, BRAF created The Bridge Center for Hope to provide an alternative that would create a safety net to catch people in crisis, keeping them out of emergency rooms and offering treatment.
The Bridge Center for Hope, an independent nonprofit, is designed to be a short-term crisis stabilization center to treat individuals 18 years or older who are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or substance use challenge and who reside in East Baton Rouge Parish.
We offer an array of crisis stabilization and crisis care services that provide short-term crisis intervention and care for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Our care management team helps guests navigate outpatient services and connects them with the appropriate community resources post-discharge from the facility.
We provide this critical crisis care to ALL individuals facing a crisis in our community. All individuals age 18 and older can receive services at the Bridge Center, regardless of their ability to pay. No one is turned away.
Since our opening, we have helped over 6,000 receive the crisis care they so desperately need.