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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – A news came on Saturday that money is coming from Congress through the BRIGHT initiative. It is a federal program designed to treat depression in people with substance abuse problems, especially in areas with high levels of trauma. As people continue to have difficulty getting up for COVID, record high inflation is causing even more problems in lower-income regions. The money from Washington goes to the clinical services of licensed practitioners.

“So, Congressman Troy Carter, our Congressman in this area, was able to allocate $ 1 million through Congress for mental health here in the East Baton Rouge area,” said Mark Armstrong, the city’s chief communications director.

These services are located in areas with high crime rates, substance abuse and inadequate housing. The parish believes that neighborhoods that are not trapped in endless cycles of violence and trauma are aware of the importance of mental health services.

“It may seem like a traditional therapy and we really want it to look like a traditional therapy. But it can also look like a non-traditional treatment. Things like yoga, mindfulness, community activities, community conversations,” Armstrong added.

The city council has already dedicated several million dollars to other mental health programs, even things like the new Bridge Center for Hope. However, the bridge center is only intended to stabilize mentally ill patients. This new program would go directly to the districts in need.

“And to address it, to provide mental health care to deal with this trauma, to break the vicious circle and to break the vicious circle of generations. So it’s a step in the right direction,” Armstrong continued.

“I am extremely excited about this. As a healing person who works with people on trauma and mental health, it is amazing for our community,” said Tonja Myles, a peer support specialist.

Myles knows all too well what it feels like to recover, and contributes to how money should be spent. In his experience, such initiatives bring hope to places where it is most needed.

“Trauma affects everyone, it has no demographic, it does not discriminate. However, let’s look at the numbers and see where the need is greatest. But when all is said and done, it ensures that everyone in our community who has experienced untreated trauma or mental health problems receives the help they need, ”added Myles.

Officials at the mayor‘s office say they hope the program will go into effect by the fall or at least by the end of the year. The first step is to get the money

In order to receive the money, this metro council should be on the agenda maybe this week. After that, they will work with stakeholders, voters and councilors to develop a final plan.

Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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