Crisis counseling program receives $9.2 million in funding for Hurricane Ida survivors

Staff Report

The Louisiana Spirit Crisis Counseling Program operating under the auspices of the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health is receiving $9.2 million in additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The funding will allow Hurricane Ida survivors access to disaster behavioral health and emotional support resources. 

FEMA awarded this supplemental funding through the Immediate and Regular Services Programs Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program grants. The funds allow OBH and five local governing entities to provide short-term crisis counseling services to survivors located within the impacted communities.

  • Capital Area Human Services District (CAHSD): Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Point Coupee, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes
  • Florida Parishes Human Services Authority (FPHSA): Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes
  • Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority (JPHSA): Jefferson Parish
  • Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD): Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes
  • South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority (SCLHSA): Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes
  • St. Martin and Iberia parishes under Acadiana Area Human Services District (AAHSD) are being covered under OBH.

CCP services include reducing stress and providing emotional support; assisting survivors in reviewing their disaster recovery options; promoting the use or development of healthy coping strategies; connecting survivors with appropriate people and agencies that can assist providers in their rebuilding efforts; and referrals to other disaster recovery programs. These services offer direct outreach through door-to-door canvassing and other venues that support survivors. CCP helps survivors work toward recovery from a situation or disaster through personal self-determination or resilience.

Since Hurricane Ida made landfall, OBH’s crisis counselors have been available across the state at various shelters, base camps, Disaster Recovery Centers and other similar sites to support those affected by the storm. To date, crisis counselors have assisted more than 27,000 individuals and businesses with direct outreach services that includes individual and group counseling, and brief supportive contacts.

Another resource available through CCP is the Keep Calm helpline at 866-310-7977, operated by VIA LINK, a local call center provider. The Keep Calm helpline provides trained, compassionate counselors to support Louisianans through this difficult time. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with information and service coordination, linking callers to mental health and substance abuse counseling services. All calls are confidential.