The Bridge Center for Hope Board of Directors is diverse and has skill sets that align with the mission of the organization. Behavioral health professionals, health care leaders, patient and consumer advocates, and justice system leaders provide a balance to the board. A nominating committee recommends board members to the full board. Board members serve two-year terms
Early in my college years, I interned for a psychiatric clinic and counseled young children dealing with traumatic experiences. I oftentimes wonder what happened to those children into adulthood and if they sought mental health services. Mental health and/or substance use awareness is important to me because I believe that these issues and challenges have no face and can affect anyone.
As an attorney practicing health care law in Baton Rouge for almost three decades, I have seen the gaps in services available in our community to people experiencing behavioral health issues and their families. In times of crisis, people have ended up either in a hospital emergency room or jail – neither of which is equipped to provide the interventions needed to address the underlying mental health issues. The Bridge Center for Hope’s mission of providing pathways to treatment for people experiencing behavioral health issues fills this long-standing gap in the continuum of care needed to successfully address behavioral health issues. Serving on The Bridge Center Board has confirmed for me the value this new and innovative model of care delivery brings to our community.
Law Enforcement leaders recognize we can’t arrest our way out of mental health. No more jails for those experiencing a mental health crisis, finally, we are providing the appropriate care to our community.
Serving on The Bridge Center for Hope’s Board of Directors is a great honor and an opportunity to give back to the Greater Baton Rouge Community. It is also a chance to be a part of helping to bring hope and healing to families affected by mental health issues and substance abuse.
As a strategist, I’m motivated by successful ends. I want to see people win. When the mind is healthy, I know that likelihood is higher. Serving on The Bridge Center for Hope’s board means I help ask the questions, clear the pathways, and make the connections that position people to achieve.
As a volunteer caregiver, I have witnessed the struggles facing those suffering with mental illness, the desperation of family members to find help, and the challenges to law enforcement and emergency healthcare providers to do their jobs effectively while treating those with mental health conditions with dignity and respect. Thank you to the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish for making The Bridge Center for Hope a reality.
I have heard many of the stories of our citizens in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas who are challenged with mental illnesses and drug addiction. I am honored to be a part of The Bridge Center for Hope that will bring the hope and help these people need.
Being on the board for The Bridge Center for Hope has been a wonderful experience. I used to worry about how many severely mental health patients were behind the prison wall. Now, we have something in our community to break that barrier between that discrepancy.
In addition to my work as an attorney, I am the owner of multiple sober living homes for men in early recovery. Personally, my first interaction with what I refer to as a “higher power” was a Baton Rouge judge who gave me the choice of 35 years in prison or one final opportunity to go to a treatment center. I chose to go to treatment and now have a life beyond my wildest dreams.
The East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office exists to serve the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish, and the State of Louisiana, by providing service to the mentally ill and their families by offering services including Orders of Protective Custody and Coroner Emergency Certificates.
I was introduced to the world of mental health while living in Hollywood pursuing my dream of working in the entertainment industry. It was there that I experienced depression for the first time and my first manic episode while directing a music video. I was hospitalized and diagnosed with co-occurring bipolar and substance use disorders. I spent the next 10 years in and out of denial about my diagnosis, which resulted in over 10 forced hospitalizations, a one-month stay in Orleans Parish Prison’s psychiatric unit, two stays in drug rehabilitation and many hopeless depressive states. In 2004, I became committed to recovery and completed a Certified Peer Support Training Program and have been working in the mental health field since that time. My personal and professional experience with mental health and substance use has shown me the importance of high-quality crisis services, so I am extremely grateful to serve on The Bridge Center for Hope board to help ensure that it best serves the citizens of Baton Rouge.
I am grateful to be a part of an avenue to help address the mental illness in our communities.
Mental health and substance abuse services provide critical and lifesaving care to people who often find themselves on the margins of society. Just as healthcare is considered fundamentally basic in our modern world, so too should mental health and substance abuse services without stigma or shame. Such services not only instill hope and purpose in the lives of people, but also reduce the chance for long-term repetitive challenges and the extreme financial and social costs associated with persistent poor health.
My father was a lifelong alcoholic, and I have always felt that if he had access to appropriate mental health/substance use services that he could have had a longer, happier and more successful life. Therefore, I have spent most of my professional and personal life advocating for behavioral health services, especially the provision of services that will prevent or limit the use of institutional services like jails or psychiatric institutions. I believe having a full continuum of behavioral health services will provide significant improvements in the quality of life for both impacted individuals and families and the community at large.
My feelings about the importance of behavioral health services are best summed up by Elyn R. Saks, “The humanity we share is more important than the mental illnesses we do not.” My goal is to continue advocacy for people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders until everyone understands that they deserve to be treated with the same humanity, concern, compassion, and medical interventions as people with physical health conditions. Behavioral health demands a public health response.
As a parent impacted firsthand by the overarching devastation of substance abuse on not only the abuser but the entire family, I realize the great need for the services offered by The Bridge Center for Hope. It is my hope that the services offered will help other families navigate through what can be a very difficult road to recovery.
I am honored to serve on the board for The Bridge Center for Hope. Millions of people worldwide suffer from the effects of mental health and substance abuse issues. Unfortunately, because mental health and substance abuse treatment is woefully lacking in the United States, the criminal justice system has long been the de facto treatment center for these issues. As a longtime Advocate of Public Defense, I am excited that jail is no longer the first option when dealing with these members of the Baton Rouge Community.
Mental illness should not be treated as a crime. The Bridge Center for Hope provides a much-needed resources for our community and enables our local court system to direct those suffering from mental illness to proper care and treatment.
The Bridge Center for Hope is a long-term dream come true. I have worked in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse field for the past 40 years. The use of jails and emergency rooms for short term intervention is so wrong. The Bridge fills a need for the beginning of real recovery.