BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – We can see the physical damage a storm leaves behind, but sometimes the damage we cannot see is the most challenging to overcome.
After a series of deadly storms hit Louisiana this week, state officials are working to spread awareness related to any possible ensuing mental health concerns.
Louisiana Spirits Crisis Counseling is an organization that’s committed to improving behavioral health in the midst of a crisis.
“We’ve heard people say…What next? We’ve been through so much – what’s next,” said Tanisha Hubbard, spokesperson for Louisiana Spirits Crisis Counseling.
To show support, Gov. John B. Edwards tweeted a message with resources for mental health.
“Behavioral health is something that we overlook but it’s something that we really, really, need to pay attention to. Because if we’re financially stressed that adds to our mental health. If there’s something with our homes or cars or different events that occur… It all impacts our mental health,” said Hubbard.
In recent weeks, a number of homeowners insurance companies are pulling out of the state, leaving thousands of people with high deductibles and unaffordable rates. Some families have no insurance at all.
“It puts stress on the homeowners and you know they’re living day-by-day sometimes or paycheck to paycheck and just can’t afford the insurance,” said Danny Adams, spokesperson for Louisiana Spirits Crisis Counseling.
Hubbard says losing personal items that are irreplaceable can take a mental and emotional toll on a family.
“There’s a lot of sentimental items that you can pack away for a hurricane,” Hubbard explained. “But, for a tornado that touches down, you don’t have time to secure any of the keepsakes that may be in your family for years.”
On top of the weather-related stressors, dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and now the holiday season, it’s easier for depression to kick in. Hubbard says it’s important to prioritize our mental health.
“Please find someone,” Hubbard urged. “A safe place to talk to someone because you’re not alone. Most people isolate, feeling like there’s no one who can understand what they’re going through. But I promise you there are people willing to help.”
For mental health assistance, contact the Office of Behavioral Health Help Line: 1-877-664-2248.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: at 1-800-273-8255 or message the CrisisText Line: Text HOME to 741741.
In addition to the Louisiana Spirits Crisis Counseling, there are a number of other groups, safety tips, and resources in the Metro Baton Rouge Area.