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“I am still in the middle of my story. I fear it will never end.”

Posted By Chelsea Borruano, MESH & You Aren't Alone Project, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

“I am still in the middle of my story. I fear it will never end.” -Mental Health poll respondent   

May was Mental Health Awareness Month. May was also followed by June, and the deaths of two prominent, influential, driven and passionate people who took their own lives. It's heartbreaking. It’s painful. It’s shocking—hearing about public figures, people who we've adored, committing suicide. But it shouldn't be a reminder that depression is one of the most dangerous of diseases. It shouldn't be the only time we consider what our cities and states are doing for mental and behavioral health. It shouldn't be the only time we think to look out for the "signs" which, by the way, are often hidden behind that smile or passion or drive.


Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—they committed suicide last week, but let's not forget the average of 123 neighbors or classmates or loved ones each day that see no other way out of this desperate fight. Each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide. For every suicide, 25 others attempt it. Being kind to someone who is sad may cheer them up and brighten their day, but just being kind to someone with depression is not enough. They—we—need actual professional, possibly medical, and maybe holistic help. And sometimes we need someone to take that step with us, because depression is a lonely, dark, hopeless road that none of us should have to travel alone.


In May, we also asked you, the young professional community here in Baton Rouge, to give us your feedback, thoughts and experiences with mental health in our city. This is what you told us…


“Including federal matching dollars, the total cuts to the Louisiana Department of Health would amount to over half a billion dollars, compromising mental health services and substance abuse treatment programs when temporary revenue measures expire on July 1.”


Out of 24 respondents, 83% of you do not support these proposed budget cuts.


100% support health insurance coverage for the treatment of behavioral health.


96% of respondents answered yes to the question, “Do you suffer from or know someone who suffers from a mental illness?” and one respondent was “unsure” (we get that).

That same percentage has sought or knows someone who has successfully sought treatment for a mental health condition.


And lastly, only 8% feel Baton Rouge is adequately supporting behavioral health and addressing these issues among our community—that’s 80% who answered no and 12% who are unsure.


We also touched on the key factors that may keep someone from seeking treatment:

“money, being stigmatized
cost of treatment if insurance was unavailable
Cost and lack of knowledge on knowing where to go for help
lack of available resource
quality of treatment
and fear of disclosure
there are few options for holistic health in Baton Rouge


There is definitely a theme. Stigma, cost, lack of resources – we all see the same issues, so the question now is, what are we going to do about it?


Since this survey, there’s been at least one positive mental health initiative for our city. Last week Mayor Broome announced the creation of an EMS mental health program, CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management). According to Broome, the CISM team will assist medics in coping with day-to-day work stresses and other mental health burdens that can arise from the workload, call volume, and the nature of certain emergency response situations. We challenge the community to expand on that. Bring this team out to the public as a Mental Health EMS squad. Obviously we’re just throwing ideas out there, BUT we’d like to see the young professionals in this community do something more with their ideas.


If you would like to be a part of this discussion and make an impact on mental health in our community, get in touch with us by emailing

Tags:  baton rouge  community  mental health 

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