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Transforming Care

Dear Community of Hope,

Looking ahead 2022 must feel very much like 1967 to those who pioneered today’s emergency medical response system. In 1966, the National Academy of Sciences published “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society,” which called for better coordination and communication, ambulance service and ED capacity, and “no wrong door” access. They pointed out the contradiction of receiving better emergency medical care as a US military on the front lines as compared with the streets at home, and the first 911 call was answered on a red phone in an Alabama police station early in 1968.

On July 16, we’ll officially launch the nation’s behavioral health and suicide crisis line in 988. In an unprecedented partnership with state leaders, SAMHSA is moving forward to strengthen the Lifeline network and transform a broader crisis continuum. Like 911 did for emergency medical care, 988 will create a cascading impact in expectations. Not only someone to call, but someone to come to you (mobile crisis), and someplace to go (crisis receiving facilities) if needed. SAMHSA published the core components in their National Guidelines in 2020, and we’ll see the vision breathe life in 2022.

It took decades for the quick response ambulances and easy access hospital EDs to reach the majority of Americans calling 911. As late as 1980, John Lennon was transported to the hospital in the back of a police car, despite being shot multiple times in New York City. And, even today, our access for those living in federally designated frontier areas and many tribal communities lag. We must act urgently to deploy the life-saving and supporting crisis care services that will be required by 988 callers.

David W. Covington, LPC, MBA

CEO & President, RI International

PICTURED ABOVE: RI’s State Director Lysha Best in the Baton Rouge Bridge Center for Hope Crisis Recovery Center, which has served nearly 2,500 individuals in its first year, with one-third direct law enforcement drop-offs by-passing the delays of traditional “medical clearance” in a hospital ED

The Bridge Center for Hope Announces Grand Opening

The Bridge Center for Hope Announces Grand Opening

The Bridge Center for Hope, the first-ever adult crisis receiving center in East Baton Rouge Parish and the State of Louisiana, is proud to announce the facility’s grand opening on Thursday, February 11 at 10 a.m. The facility, designed as a short-term crisis stabilization center to treat individuals 18 years or older experiencing a mental health crisis and/or substance use challenge, will be open to the public and ready to serve residents of East Baton Rouge Parish.

“The original idea for this facility was formed in 2016 to fill the void of quality care for individuals in crisis. And through the help of many individuals over the years, this vision has become a reality,” stated Executive Director Charlotte Claiborne. “After facing many obstacles and challenges, we persevered, and we are so pleased to now offer services to those in need and to support our community of East Baton Rouge Parish.”

The Bridge Center for Hope’s Board of Directors selected RI International (RI) to operate the facility. The center will employ RI’s “no wrong door” approach where anyone experiencing a crisis is welcomed, whether they walk in on their own, are escorted by loved ones, referred by a provider agency or transferred by first responders or law enforcement. They will also utilize RI’s successful “Crisis Now” model, which is an evidence-based nationally endorsed approach to crisis care that prevents suicides, provides immediate help for those in distress, reduces the cost of care, and reduces the strain on emergency rooms, prisons, and law enforcement.

The Bridge Center for Hope consists of four units and will operate six programs. The programs will include a Mobile Response Team for community-based crisis intervention, a 23-hour crisis stabilization unit, a 16-bed short-term psychiatric unit, a 16-bed substance use detoxification unit, a 16-bed center-based respite unit, and a care management team that will provide navigation and linkage for guests to outpatient services and appropriate community resources post discharge from the facility.

The Bridge Center for Hope facility is located at 3455 Florida Blvd, across from the Baton Rouge
General Mid City campus. The center will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone 18 years or older regardless of income or insurance. For more information and to stay informed of news about The Bridge Center for Hope, please visit

About The Bridge Center for Hope

The Bridge Center for Hope, an independent nonprofit, was formed to help East Baton Rouge Parish residents experiencing a mental health crisis and/or substance use challenge and ensure they receive quality care and attention. The Bridge Center for Hope’s mission is to provide pathways to treatment for people experiencing behavioral health issues and link providers to create an integrated continuum of care from prevention to rehabilitation. For more information, visit

About RI International

RI, founders of the Living Room model in 2002, deliver no-wrong-door crisis facility-based services across the country with rapid growth targeted. RI’s Campus of Connection model includes a strong peer workforce and surrounds the individual with support on their journey towards recovery. To learn more, visit