Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who will operate the crisis stabilization center?
    The Bridge Center for Hope, a private 501(c)(3) founded to provide treatment services to people in a crisis.

  2. What services will be provided at the center?

    The following services will either be provided by the center, or coordinated where possible with existing providers, with the goal of filling a gap in the mental health continuum around crisis stabilization and connect individuals to the care providers they need:

    1. Mobile Assessment Team - that will respond to law-enforcement calls and assess level of service intervention needed.

    2. Sobering Beds - where people under the influence of drugs or alcohol can safely reach sobriety and then be referred to a detox program.

    3. Medical Detoxification - where people withdrawing from substance dependence are evaluated and medically managed, and physical harm to them from detoxification process is minimized.

    4. Behavioral Health Respite - for evaluating and stabilizing people experiencing a psychiatric crisis.

    5. Care Management Team - to provide ongoing community support and care management interventions to high users of the behavioral health and criminal justice systems.

    6. Crisis Intervention Services - providing text, chat, and telephonic services for individuals in crisis to call for help and be referred to an appropriate therapy provider. The Bridge Center is currently providing this service in the community through ViaLink, a reputable crisis hotline service.

    7. Pre-Trial Release - will mean the expansion of an existing program administered by the Bridge Center to divert nonviolent people with mental illness or substance abuse programs to treatment instead of more expensive imprisonment or emergency room care.

  3. How many people will be treated at the center?

    The initial estimated capacity of the center will be to treat up to 5,000 individuals per year.

  4. How will the center be staffed?

    Though these numbers will start small and grow over time, we will be looking for mental and behavioral health professionals possessing deep experience working with these populations to meet the recommended full-capacity staff listing is as follows:

    16 full-time Registered Nurses (RNs)

    11 full-time Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)

    3 full-time Medical Assistants (Mas)

    4 full-time Chemical Dependence Counselor or Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADCs)

    4 certified peer specialists (CPS)

    3 full-time Nurse Practitioners (NPs)

    1 part-time Consulting Physician

    1 part-time psychiatrist

    1 Clinical Director

    1 Executive Director


    The center will be a 24/7/365 facility. This will require around-the-clock staffing, so only a portion of this staff will be working each shift.


  5. How do people in need get to the center? 

    Individuals will be able to access the center and its services through several entry points.

    First, the center is always open to the public, and citizens in need are welcome to refer themselves or a family member to the center for help. When the MHERE was open, roughly 50% of those admitted came on their own. 

    Next, the center will staff a mobile assessment team. The mobile assessment team can be deployed instead of or in concert with police when a mental health call is made to 911 or another emergency line. This team will utilize on site stabilization methods to ensure each patient is appropriately cared for, or they will transport the individual to the Bridge Center if they cannot be stabilized on site. 

    Additionally, Capital Area Human Services District currently provides Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training for officers. As a result of this training, first responders will be able to assess the current state the individual(s) they are working with and identify the best path forward for them, whether that is the center, an ER, or prison/jail.


  6. How much will be saved in ER visits, officer time, and jail? 

    In 2015, M. Ray Perryman, an economist from San Antonio, where a jail diversion program was successful, calculated that an EBR jail diversion program would generate $3 million in direct cost savings in year one and $54.9 million over 10 years. This report scaled the San Antonio model to Baton Rouge demographics and calculated savings across the community, including deferred emergency room visits, jail time, and officer wait time. In its two years of being open, the MHERE saw zero patients end up in jail.


  7. Why does this proposal not also include funding for a new jail?

    The Justice Center Study prepared for the City-Parish by Loop Capital was designed to assist policymakers in decisions about the size and scope of a new jail facility and provide a menu of options for more detailed implementation steps.  The authors of the report concluded that implementing diversion programs, including increasing options for diverting individuals with mental health needs, should be taken prior to the construction of a new parish prison.  Doing so will allow officials and policymakers to better understand how many inmates the new prison should house.

  8. What has changed between the 2016 tax attempt and now?

    Organizers of the center reevaluated the current state of mental health services in the Parish. This new evaluation helped to 1) understand the financial and service-level implications of the Medicaid expansion mandated by Governor John bel Edwards in 2016, 2) identify changes that had occurred with service providers working in the proposed continuum since the original tax pursuit, and 3) respond to an evolving need for a strengthened network of established mental-health service providers in the community.

    In response to these changes, the Bridge Center for Hope has begun consolidating its efforts with the long-standing Crisis Intervention Center of Louisiana. Additionally, the center also launched a pre-trial release program for non-violent offenders in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. In the six months since the program’s inception, more than 20 individuals have been released from prison and connected with appropriate mental and substance abuse treatment programs. Additionally, 100% of all individuals accepted into the program have not been re-arrested on new charges.


  9. Are all Baton Rouge Police Officers trained in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)?

    The Capital Area Human Services District initiated CIT training in 2008. CIT is taught at the police academy with a 40-hour class for regional officers.  The 40-hour class is also offered 2 times per year.  The 8-hour class is offered 1-3 times per year. Behavioral Health and De-escalation Training for Probation and Parole POST Academy is offered 1-3 times per year.

  10. Will the center treat individuals with substance abuse issues?

    The enter will be primarily focused on individuals suffering from mental health crises, which often includes co-occurring substance abuse issues. The center will oversee sobering and detoxification services, and will connect people with substance abuse issue to providers specializing in the kind of treatment they need for recovery.

  11. How many calls does EMS respond to from people in a mental health crisis?

    In 2017, EMS responded to 3,821 calls with mental health issues as the primary reason for the call.  81% of those people were taken to an emergency room.


  12. How many people are brought to the Our Lady of the Lake Emergency Room by law enforcement?

    All of our community’s health systems are affected by the gap in crisis stabilization services, and in 2017, about 540 people were brought to the Our Lady of the Lake ER by law enforcement.


  13. How many people were committed in 2017?

    1,090 Orders of Protective Custody (OPC) and 7,631 Coroner’s Emergency Certificates (CEC) were issued. 

  14. What is the process to commit someone?

    Order of Protective Custody (OPC)
    The office of the Coroner may issue an Order for Protective Custody at the request of a “peace officer or other credible person,” who provides justification that such an order be warranted as indicated by La RS 28:53.2. This order permits law enforcement officers to pick up the named individual, within 72 hours of issuance, for transport to a treatment facility providing care for mental illness and/or substance abuse. The order is valid only for 72 hours from the time it is signed by the Coroner.

    A patient brought to the facility on an OPC must be evaluated by the physician within 12 hours of arrival.

    Coroner Emergency Certificate
    A person who is mentally ill or a person who is suffering from substance abuse may be admitted and detained at a facility for observation, diagnosis and treatment for a period not to exceed fifteen days under an emergency certificate. 

    A person suffering from substance abuse may be detained at a treatment facility for one additional period, not to exceed fifteen days, provided that a second emergency certificate is executed. 

    Upon admission of any person by emergency certificate to a treatment facility, the director of the treatment facility shall immediately notify the coroner of the parish in which the treatment facility is located of the admission. Within seventy-two hours of admission, the person shall be independently examined by the coroner or his deputy who shall execute an emergency certificate, which shall be a necessary precondition to the person's continued confinement. 

    If, from his examination, the coroner concludes that the person is not a proper subject for emergency admission, then the person shall not be further detained in the treatment facility and shall be discharged by the director.