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BREAKDOWN The Frontline Response to the Mental Health Crisis

INTRODUCTION

The crisis grew quietly, across both sides of the Red River for the better part of a decade. Mental health resources, like in-patient psychiatric care, outpatient counseling, and access to affordable prescription medicine were drying up, just as record numbers of people were being diagnosed with severe mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, PTSD, and schizophrenia. As a result, local police officers and paramedics were getting called daily to serve as “street psychologists” for a growing number of people suffering from psychiatric emergencies. As the number of those encounters grew, local emergency rooms like LSU Health Shreveport found themselves flooded with mental health patients brought in by first responders. Adding to the problem, police officers and paramedics admittedly lacked the training to deal with those suffering from mental illness.

Then in 2020, the crisis exploded across television screens and became headline news when three men, all suffering psychotic episodes, died following violent encounters with Bossier City and Shreveport police officers. In the wake of the tragedies, one local police force and fire department took action, becoming the first agencies to make plans to provide their entire staff with mental health training, while another police department largely refused to openly address the problem.

CHAPTER 1 | TRAGIC DEATHS IN 2020

Jeremy Fox, 42, was shot and killed in an officer-involved incident in Bossier City on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2020. According to preliminary information released by Louisiana State Police (LSP), officers with the Bossier City Police Department initially responded to an attempted carjacking near the CenturyLink Center on CenturyLink Center Drive. They say Fox met the description of the alleged carjacker. Cpl. Matthew Bragg confronted Fox, and a struggle ensued. Fox was shot and killed.

KSLA Chief Investigative Reporter Stacey Cameron spoke with Fox's widow, Brandy Fox, about what kind of man Jeremy was, and what happened after he died.

"You have a difficult time with the characterization that this was a suicide?" Cameron asked.

"It wasn't. Jeremy would have never shot himself, ever. Jeremy, he wanted Heaven. He didn't want to go to Hell. He wouldn't believe in that stuff. He would not have done that to me and the kids. We were everything to him and he was everything to us," Brandy replied.

Jeremy Fox, 42

Fox (pictured left): "But he had PTSD. He also had high anxiety. He also had bipolar. He was going to the VA for it. He was seeing a therapist and a psychologist."

In the 911 audio, one can hear the caller saying there was a guy "going nuts" at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier. Then, in a video recorded by a witness... "Oh s*** the gun went off. Holy s***."

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "When he left, did you have any indication he might be in a psychiatric crisis?"

Fox: "No. I would of never let him leave if I thought, you know, there was a problem."

Fox says she has no idea what went through her husband's mind during his drive to the CenturyLink Center, or even why he went there in the first place.

"How hard is it for you still not having those answers?" Cameron asked.

"You know, I don't see us getting the answers. Nobody wants to talk. I'll never know what went through his mind or what made him go to CenturyLink. Those are questions I'll never get to answer," Fox said.

"Do you have worries, seeing how your husband passed, that the Bossier City Police Department doesn't have adequate training to deal with people suffering mental illness?" Cameron asked.

"They do not. If you've seen the video of Jeremy, he was in his boxers. You could tell he had no weapon. You can tell there was something wrong with someone standing outside in their boxers. You know, that's not a normal person, a normal person is not gonna' do that. Instead of pulling your gun on them, you know, try to talk to them. Don't just, you know, come at them like that," Fox replied.

Still image from footage of fatal encounter between the Bossier City Police Department and Jeremy Fox

Fox wasn't the only man who died following an encounter with police officers in the Shreveport-Bossier area in 2020. Johnathan Jefferson, 34, was also killed. He died Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, also during an altercation with the Bossier City Police Department after officers were called out about a domestic disturbance. Jefferson's sister says she saw the whole incident.

"When he got close to them, the first officer started shooting, and he just kept shooting, and my brother just kept walking backward, and when he got back far enough, the second officer was shooting, and as he [inaudible] to the ground, they just kept shooting," she said.

Multiple sources have claimed Jefferson was armed with a knife. Reports also indicate officers tried to deescalate the situation, but that Jefferson did not respond to their commands and kept moving towards them. However, witnesses who recorded cellphone video of the incident say they could never clearly see whether Jefferson was armed. They did say officers drew their guns the moment they got out of their cars.

Johnathan Jefferson, 34

Dana Larkins, Jefferson's sister (pictured left): "He could go anywhere and make a friend, so it was like wherever he went, he made a friend. He was very caring. He would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it."

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "You told me your son had a mental health diagnosis. What did he suffer from?"

Bessie Mae Dew, Jefferson's mother (pictured left): "Schizophrenic bipolar."

Dew: "It was a normal, typical day. We got up and he came in the room. We talked and I said, 'Johnathan, I'm going to go to Stonewall and help one of my friends move, but I'll be back.' He said, 'Well, go ahead, mama. I'll stay here 'til you come back.' That was the last time I talked to him."

James Carter, managing partner of trials and mass torts for The Cochran Firm, represents the Jefferson family. He says he still has questions surrounding Jefferson's death.

"We are still going into a discovery phase to get all that done, but we have reason to believe that the Bossier City Police Department violated multiple policies and procedures as it relates to dealing with a situation like this. We know that law enforcement is supposed to be trying to be able to handle situations where there's a mental episode occurring in individuals. It is unfortunate how, in situations like this, the criminalization of mental health, it is not supposed to be a situation where individuals are criminalized based upon having situations that are beyond their control," Carter said.

The attorney believes officers may not be getting the training they need to deal with those suffering from mental illness.

"In some circumstances, not in every circumstance. You know, when I call law enforcement, I expect them to come, right? And so, we need law enforcement. There are situations though, however, in America, where the leadership in certain departments, where there's a culture that's hardened, that refuses to recognize the humanity in certain human beings, and invariably, in some circumstances, that ends up in a tragic loss like in the Johnathan Jefferson situation," said Carter.

James Carter, managing partner of trials and mass torts for The Cochran Firm

In January of 2021, Officers Charles Bridges and Eric Sproles were cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with Jefferson's death by Bossier Parish District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin.

"When he turned 21 and he was diagnosed with schizophrenic bipolar, it was just like he changed, but he still had that caring heart. Like when his manic episodes came on, it was like, it was uncontrollable, so we would send him to LSU to get help and everything and he could come down, his medicine got worked out, he was back to being Jonathan, just loving, caring, just being him," Larkins said.

"It's been really hard because I'm used to him being there with me, and I have some sleepless nights, you know. I have to go out somewhere and cry because I don't want my husband or my kids to see me crying," said Dew.

"One of the things I see in my capacity as an attorney who deals with these matters, who deal with civil rights matters in the unnecessary loss of life, is the pain, you know, that these families go through. There's nothing that can be done to literally, to replace the life of a loved one," Carter said.

And on Sunday, April 5, 2020, another man suffering a mental health crisis died during an encounter with police, this time in Shreveport. Tommie McGlothen Jr. was 44-years-old at the time of his death. McGlothen's son, Tommie McGlothen III, wants to know how a report of an alleged burglary led to his father's death. Family members were reportedly told by the Shreveport Police Department that McGlothen Jr. got into an altercation with a homeowner at the scene of an alleged burglary. Family members say when they first saw McGlothen Jr.'s body at the funeral home, they were horrified to see signs indicating he was badly beaten. Two months later, family members said they still had not received a death certificate or autopsy report.

Tommie McGlothen Jr., 44

KSLA's Stacey Cameron uncovered a nearly four-and-a-half-minute long video of McGlothen Jr.'s encounter with police on Eileen Lane, which showed officers punching the man and using their Tasers on him. Several witnesses described seeing McGlothen Jr.'s face slammed into the hood of a squad car and the pavement. He was also reportedly beaten with a baton. McGlothen Jr. was eventually placed in the back of a police vehicle, where he lost consciousness. He died later that same day.

Members of the medical community believe the Shreveport-Bossier area is facing a mental health crisis that has been many years in the making. Experts like Ryan Williams, CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management (pictured left), say the community lacks mental health resources.

Cameron: "When you saw stories like Tommie McGlothen play out locally, what were the thoughts that went through your mind?"

Williams: "Naturally, you want to help. You want to almost jump in the screen and try to help, because at that point in time, you see someone, they don't necessarily need a police officer. They need a doctor, they need a social worker. They need someone to ask not, 'what's wrong with you?' but 'how can I help you?' And that situation went bad real fast, and it shouldn't have gotten to that point, but when you have a community where over 35, 45 percent of people dealing with mental issues and you have a police officer who's not aware of how to deal with that particular person, then it's a problem on top of a problem, and that person's in mental distress and we don't have anyone that's properly trained to deal with them at the scene, it's going to escalate and turn into more and more problems."

"And do you think that our community really understood the degree of this issue until this summer, when we saw people die at the hands of police that were in psychiatric emergency?" Cameron asked.

"I think we're still lacking. I don't think we've caught up to what's truly going on. I think more people are aware, but not enough. More people are aware, but not enough people are aware. When enough people are not aware, that's gonna' continue to cause more problems," Williams replied.

The four officers involved in the death of McGlothen Jr., Treona McCarter, Brian Ross, D'Marea Johnson, and James LeClare, were indicted in September of 2020. They were all charged with negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.

In October of 2020, McGlothen Jr.'s family served the City of Shreveport a demand letter, asking for a $25 million settlement in connection with McGlothen Jr.'s death.

"We know that this society is riddled with individuals who have mental health disorders, so it becomes important and incumbent upon law enforcement to engage in training to properly deal with situations like this, that they do not ultimately resolve with the termination of life," Carter said.

When asked if these deaths were preventable, Carter replied, "Absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, it's particularly relative to Johnathan Jefferson and Tommie McGlothen. Law enforcement was on notice that these individuals had mental health issues because they had been called before, so it wasn't like these were new people and situations that they had not encountered before, individuals that they did not know, which makes it even more tragic what happened to these two gentlemen."

Fox still misses her husband; she says he was loving, caring, and had a huge heart. She says she misses his smile, his touch, his laugh, and the conversations they had. At the time of his death, Jeremy had been dealing with bipolar disorder for about five years, and PTSD for about 10 or 11 years, his widow says. Fox describes the morning Jeremy died:

"When I woke up, he was already up and he was in a great mood. He went and got McDonald's for us to eat breakfast. We sat down and watched TV. We talked about our day. He was going to go and visit his dad. And then he was like, 'Okay, you know, I'm going to leave now.' And I was like, 'Alright, you know, see you later.' And that was it," she said.

Health professionals say when someone is experiencing a psychiatric emergency, many times, they're unable to recognize reality.

"When someone has a psychotic episode, they're unable to really do reality testing. They're misperceiving events outside. I mean, may be hearing voices, seeing things, they may have delusional thinking, which is a fixed false belief," said Dr. Kathryn Kennedy, who is an adult and geriatric psychiatrist for Brentwood Hospital.

Essentially, people who are experiencing a mental health crisis may not be aware of what they're doing.

"Of course, they’re not in their right mind. They don't know what they’re doing, and they need medical services. They don't need to be in jail. Unfortunately, many of them end up there, but that's not where they need to be," Dr. Kennedy (pictured right) said.

Fox says she was initially told by police that her husband, Jeremy, shot and killed himself using the responding officer's gun.

"None of my family believes it," she said. "He would not kill his self. He would not have done that to me and the kids. We were everything to him, and he was everything to us."

"He was alone. He was by his self. Nobody was there to help him. That's what haunts me still, knowing he died by himself..."

CHAPTER 2 | A NEW APPROACH FROM FIRST RESPONDERS

Citing possible litigation, the Bossier City and Shreveport police departments declined to talk about the Jeremy Fox, Johnathan Jefferson, and Tommie McGlothen Jr. cases, but when the circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths of those three men became breaking news, for the first time in a long time, the mental health crisis in the community was front and center.

One glaring problem: local police officers and paramedics with little to no training in mental illness were getting called daily to deal with people suffering psychiatric emergencies. The Bossier City Police Department refused to cooperate with this project, only saying by email that when it comes to mental health, officers hired since 2016 get verbal de-escalation training and in 2020, the entire Bossier City force was taught how to recognize excited delirium.

In Shreveport, however, the police and fire departments took a different path, deciding after the death of Tommie McGlothen Jr. that something needed to change, and ended up partnering with a company based out of San Antonio, Texas that was founded by two former officers with mental health experience. They launched an ambitious program aimed at providing every member of police and fire departments with 40 hours of crisis intervention training (CIT).

If successful, Shreveport will become the first city in Louisiana in which every first responder is certified in how to deal with the mentally ill.

"So crisis intervention training, is a, it's a 40-hour block of instruction from a group out of San Antonio, SolutionPoint+. So the first part of it is active listening and communication. Then we start to learn about the different types of disorders that are out there and how to tactfully walk your way through that and how to get those situations under control. After that, we start to learn a little bit about ourselves. A huge portion of it is self-care, because officers that go to those types of situations, you know, week after week, year after year, it takes a toll on the police officer and how they deal with that, so we begin to learn about what you experience and how to make yourself better so that you can go back into those situations," said Lt. Jerry Silva, academy training director for the Shreveport Police Department.

Joe Smarro (pictured left) is the CEO of SolutionPoint+ and a former mental health police officer for the San Antonio Police Department.

"Forty hour CIT training is not a one size fits all at all. The only thing that's standardized is that it's 40 hours, and so a lot of our training is not just teaching them active listening, effective communication, de-escalation, we also teach them about the basic fundamentals of mental illness. We teach them things about like schizophrenia, bipolar, PTSD. We teach them about suicide, but a big part of our training, and what I believe sets us apart, is there's almost equal emphasis placed on the individual officer and we teach them about police officer suicide. We teach them about officer wellness. It's a mixture of my partner, Jesse, and I doing the training for the police portion of this or the first responder, 'cause we also train the fire departments as well," Smarro explained.

Dr. James Patterson II, associate professor and chair of psychiatry for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport, says it's critically important for police officers to receive CIT. He says when officers don't have the proper training, it can pose serious risks to the patient and the officer.

"If they aren't properly trained? Sure, absolutely there is. There is a very big risk because, you know, if a police officer tells somebody to do something and they don't have a good contact with reality, they're psychotic, they may just keep doing what they're doing and ignore the police officer. The police officer then does what they have to do. That could get violent, aggressive. There could be harm to the officer or the patient," the doctor said.

Medical professionals recognize the issues first responders are facing though.

"From the police officer's eyes, I see a person who is trying, but I don't know how to deal with this troubled person other than to do what I was trained to do, and that's to stop this disturbance," Williams said.

"Again, what people really need to understand is it's nanoseconds that things are happening. There is no play. There is no rewind button. There is no timeout in those situations, so officers have to be on their toes. They have to really consider what it is that they're doing, and it's all happening really quick." -Lt. Silva (pictured right)

Even firefighters can find themselves dealing with these potentially volatile situations sometimes. As first responders (who don't just fight fires), they're liable to come into contact with people suffering from mental health crises at any time.

"There are instances where we have been fought before, guns have been produced. There're times we've had to put hands on them as a fireman. You had no other option other than to put hands on someone until you could receive help, maybe from law enforcement, and that's the thing, law enforcement is not always there when we're dealing with patients," said Chief Clarence Reese Jr. with the Shreveport Fire Department.

Capt. Tom Oster with the Shreveport Police Department, who has decades of experience in law enforcement, says sometimes it's difficult for responding officers to differentiate between someone who's under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and someone who is having a mental health breakdown.

"It would help our officers, in their initial contacts, knowing the signals or the behaviors that will let us know that, hey, that is a mental issue, it's not the intoxicated guy or the guy that's high. Having somebody that could help break that down, and I think even maybe more so importantly, that is that they would be a resource to get help for these people after they come into contact with us," Capt. Oster said.

Many first responders say a big part of the problem is it's easy to immediately see when someone has suffered a physical injury, but it's much harder to see the signs of a mental issue.

"And it kind of mimics a lot of the medical emergencies. Of course we can see a broken arm. We can see a hole through a person, a foreign object sticking out of a body, however, you have interview skills that you need to learn to be able to find out is this normal for this person? And especially with mental illness, is this mental illness? Is it a substance abuse issue? Is it developmental delays? You have no idea, and you're trying to figure this out as you do interviews, so communication is huge when it comes to mental health patients. They pick up on a lot, and I'm talking about not just verbal, the non-verbal also. They're looking at how you're standing there looking. Are you closed off? They're looking at how you answer questions. Certain things may make them snap," said Chief Reese.

Smarro describes how CIT at SolutionPoint+ works.

"So we'll start on a Monday just doing active listening. On Tuesday, we'll introduce psychosis, maybe they're hearing voices, you know, delusional, whatever it is, and can they effectively de-escalate using the skills that we teach them? Wednesday, we'll introduce suicide, how to do a proper suicide assessment. Thursday, they get a break from the roleplays because we'll bring in a community panel, you know, four to six people with life experiences that are willing to come forward and say, 'This is my diagnosis. I've had this run-in with law enforcement. I was addicted to this or that, I'm in treatment, and this is what I would love for you guys to know.' But really what it comes down to is 'I'm a person.' And then Friday is testing and we give them a written test. They have to pass. And then we give them a roleplay test where the time is extended and they have to pass that one, you know? And then we give them a certification saying like, yes, we say that you are, in our opinion, who we would deem ourselves as experts in this field, you are equipped to effectively do this crisis intervention approach on these calls. And the feedback we've gotten from the officers that have already gone through our program here locally has been absolutely incredible for us. I tell people, I'm not just saying this because I'm here, but it has really been one of our favorite groups because they're so hungry for this training. They're so hungry and optimistic about the value of what this training could provide," said Smarro.

Lt. Silva talks about why CIT is a paradigm shift in the way departments do their policing going forward.

"You know, moving forward, man, I want, I want the rest of these guys to have, you know, something that I didn't, that would have been so helpful. Thank God there weren't any catastrophic situations, but it certainly would have helped me to understand some things a little bit more," Silva said.

"Any advanced training that we can get these kids, these young officers to recognize things, to make their job better and to better serve these citizens, especially the ones that, you know, have mental illness. Hopefully it's going to make a difference to where these encounters with the mentally ill don't always end violently," Capt. Oster said. "It's a new way of thinking for us. It's a new way of training for us. It is handling these situations in a totally different fashion than we've been trained to up until this point."

When a situation with a mentally ill person turns violent, is it fair to put the blame on law enforcement officers and first responders when they haven't been given the proper tools to deal with the situation? Smarro certainly doesn't think so.

"I think it's such an unfair expectation that communities are placing on the first responders, whether it's police or fire, that just because they wear a badge or just because they went through a police training that they should somehow show up and know, 'Oh, this is a person suffering from mental illness. I know I just need to be patient. I need to keep my tone low and slow. I need to empathize with them and be compassionate. That's what I just know how to do when I have zero clue.' And so it's about really just learning how to improve, and I think the reason why it's difficult to get buy-in is because you're essentially, you know, you're really talking about changing, which is super uncomfortable, right? 2020 has really shown everyone that change is very uncomfortable for a lot of people, but typically police departments just kind of, well, we're going to just keep doing the things the way we've always done them, and if you look at policies, so many of police policies are 10 years old, 20 years old, and they haven't updated, and it's just, we're doing the same thing over and over because well, this is the way it works," he said.

Both the police and fire departments in Shreveport say they'd eventually like all officers/firefighters to receive crisis intervention training.

"Well, we want to roll this out department-wide, then after it's department-wide without operations, we want to make sure that every basic training class that comes on from now on receives this training, but it's something that's being developed right now," said Chief Reese.

"Ultimately, yes, but we're going to train certain handpicked officers to then teach the rest of the officers in a classroom setting, so we will have on-staff officers that are actually certified in teaching crisis intervention training," Capt. Oster said.

"So the officers on the department and the fire folks are going to present the course to the current cadet class. It's in session while SolutionPoint+ watches it or monitors it to make sure that everything is done correctly, and then from that point forward, we will get the blessing to go ahead and push it forward," said Lt. Silva.

"They're going to create the agenda, going to teach the content. They're going to contact the local partners. We're just going to simply observe and provide feedback. And so we'll do a report of things that went really well, things that they need to improve on, and things they could do better and also act as a liaison, if in real time they need some help with something," said Smarro.

Chief Reese says the crisis intervention training he went through was some of the best training he has ever received with the Shreveport Fire Department.

"The crisis intervention training that we received was, in my opinion, the best training I've ever received on the Shreveport Fire Department, and at CIT training, it really taught you a lot things I thought I was doing very good at. I thought I had a gift of talking to those people. I found out that I wasn't as effective as I could be," the chief said.

Smarro hopes this training will not only teach officers how to recognize the signs of mental illness, but that it will also teach them to be more understanding and caring.

"The initial expectation should be that you're going to get officers who are more compassionate. You're going to have officers who are more patient. You're going to have officers that are willing to slow down and realize like, wait a minute, is there an opportunity here to maybe be creative and think outside of the box and maybe not just think, 'Oh, I see a problem. I know a solution is jail,'" Smarro said.

Lt. Silva also believes the training will be good for the Shreveport Police Department as a whole.

"We've had positive feedback from everybody. The folks that have not been through it are like, 'Hey, you know, when can we get into the next one?' You know, this is good stuff, and I have no doubt going forward that it's gonna' do positive things," he said.

CHAPTER 3 | WHAT IS A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS AND HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Dr. James Patterson II says Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport is seeing more and more mental health patients in the emergency room than ever before.

"Twenty years ago, we were seeing three, maybe four or five patients a day in the ER with psychiatric emergencies. Now, it's 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 per day." -Dr. Patterson (pictured right)

Another medical professional, Dr. Jacquelyn Bowers, the director of emergency services for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport, says patients experiencing a psychiatric emergency become unable to make sound decisions.

"Psychiatric emergency would be any condition in which the patient becomes overwhelmed to make good decisions. They become disabled by their process," she said.

"People would ask me, 'Do you have a couch in the emergency room?' And the answer is no, I do very little psychoanalysis or 'couch work' as they call it. I take care of people who are suicidal, who are intoxicated on drugs, who are gravely disabled because of psychosis or withdrawal from drugs, or intoxication on drugs," said Dr. Patterson.

Dr. Bowers and Dr. Patterson both say Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport does not have enough space to effectively treat the number of mental health patients they're seeing come through their doors. Dr. Bowers says there's one floor dedicated to psychiatric patients, in addition to a portion of the ER.

"So the tenth floor psychiatric inpatient unit is our current inpatient psychiatry service, and that's where we put patients with severe mental illness. Our criteria for admission, there are fairly straightforward. You have to be suicidal, homicidal, or very greatly disabled on any given day," said Dr. Patterson.

The doctor says the tenth floor is always at capacity. In fact, he says the facility is at "100 percent capacity 98 percent of the time."

The doctors say they see people suffering from conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse, PTSD, and suicidal ideations.

"A lot of these people who are out of touch with reality and hearing voices and hearing things and seeing things and acting in a delusional state are definitely a threat to themselves, so they're gravely disabled." -Dr. Todd Thoma, Caddo Parish coroner and associate professor of emergency medicine for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport (pictured left)

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "Are emergency rooms really designed to deal with mentally ill patients?"

Dr. Bowers (pictured right): "Some emergency rooms are better designed for this than others, although I feel this emergency department [Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport] has done a good job."

Cameron: "But this isn't the ideal place for a person suffering a psychiatric crisis?"

Dr. Bowers: "That's true, because while the patient is coming in for a psychiatric illness, we are still seeing patients for acute traumas, acute stroke, acute heart attacks, and all the other various complaints that patients come in for, and so at times, I feel that psychiatric patients could be better benefited from a dedicated hospital to take care of their needs."

Many health professionals in the Shreveport-Bossier area say there's only so much they can do to combat this crisis.

"One of my favorite ways of characterizing where we are right now is putting a Band-Aid on an arterial wound. We simply do not have the resources, especially here in Louisiana, and especially here in Caddo Parish, to deal with the influx of patients," said Dr. Patterson.

While it's clear to these doctors there is indeed a mental health crisis ongoing in the community, it's not quite as clear how we got here, or what to do next...

When asked if the community is facing a mental health crisis right now, Dr. Thoma replied: "Yeah, I mean, it's pretty clear that we do. The numbers clearly speak for themselves. They have gone up dramatically over the last 10 years and something needs to be done to fix that problem."

Addressing the question of how we got here is a tall order; Dr. Patterson has a theory.

"My own research on this shows that it's basically repeating cycles of people who are from a broken family, grew up in and go through the same cycles of abuse and drug abuse and neglect and broken education and jail and violence, and they have kids that are then raised in the same environment, and they grew up in that as kids, and so this has been going on now for several generations," he said.

Williams, the CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management, has a similar theory.

"And the children see it too, and they feel it. They feel it from an early age and they carry it from that age all the way forward until adulthood, so it's a vicious cycle of stress, and when it goes unaddressed and it goes unchecked, eventually that hurt person will hurt someone else," he said.

"It's something that is near and dear to my heart because I see it every day in the ER. And so it's getting younger. It's getting more severe and it's not going away," said Dr. Patterson.

These health professionals say there's a certain stereotype that exists about what people with mental illness look like. Many picture a homeless person, or someone who's addicted to drugs, but mental illness can affect anyone, no matter their race, age, socioeconomic status, profession, gender identity, political beliefs, or sexual orientation.

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "There's a perception that I think if someone's just watching this, they're going to think a psychiatric patient coming into your ER is probably a homeless person or someone who has chronically suffered substance abuse. Is that who you're seeing, or is there a wide population that you see?"

Dr. Bowers: "There is a very wide population. That could be you, that could be me. Psychiatric illness does not skip over any walk of life. This is just like heart disease. We all are susceptible to it. I think that there continues to be a tremendous stigma attached to mental illness and that many do not approach it as a true medical problem while it is very much so."

Dr. Kennedy: "And I think that because the symptoms of the illness come out as a behavior, a lot of people put judgment on it, even families, you know? They love these people, but they think maybe some of this is intentional."

"I think the stigma of mental illness among people who are working and have functionable lives and families and go about their daily lives, I think that stigma is very great and keeps a lot of people from seeking the help they need," -Christa Pazzaglia, executive director of HOPE Connections (pictured left)

Many times, due to the lack of resources and facilities, those suffering mental health crises wind up in emergency rooms after being brought there by police officers, Dr. Thoma says. Capt. Oster says in his more than 30 years in law enforcement, he has seen this happen firsthand.

"When we're dealing with these people, with these mental illnesses, for lack of a better term, they're repeat offenders. We see a lot of the same ones over again, you know, because they can't get the help. We'll commit them to LSU or their family will commit them to the hospital, they'll get a little bit of treatment, and next thing you know, they're back out." -Capt. Tom Oster
"And so we have many patients who are revolving door patients. I think, you know, you might characterize them as, some of them will come back the next day, some of them will come back in a week, some of them in a year. Many of them we've seen before, you know, once or twice a year, seven or eight times a year." -Dr. James Patterson
"So what happens is John Smith, who has schizophrenia and is delusional, he's taken into the hospital and he's admitted into the hospital and they may keep him for several days and they put him on his medications and everything calms down. And John Smith does very, very well, so what ends up happening is Mr. Smith goes out, doesn't fill his medicines, and in a matter of a few days to a few weeks, he's back into his delusional, psychotic state, and somebody picks him up and brings him back in, and it's a revolving door." -Dr. Todd Thoma

Just as doctors are treating more and more mentally ill patients, police officers are also encountering them more and more often. Capt. Oster says during an average week, an officer working five days probably responds to 30 or 40 calls per shift, and at least half a dozen of those involve someone suffering from a mental health condition. Leaders with the Shreveport Fire Department say it's a similar story for their firefighters as well, who respond not just to fires, but to medical emergencies too.

"Most of the time on mental health patients, you're going to see police and you're going to see fire at that scene, and that's the thing, law enforcement is not always there when we're dealing with patients. Every call doesn't come in as, 'Hey, this person has mental health issues.' It can come in as just a regular medical call or this person's not acting right, but you know, that's the game of mental health, and it does become frustrating when you're picking that same person up every week." -Chief Reese (pictured right)

"These types of calls [mental health calls] can be volatile. The officer has to understand that anything he says, his actions, how he presents himself, can be that trigger to send that individual into a bad way, and so it's a very difficult task for officers to show up on scene and have somebody that is acting abnormal if you will, because when an officer shows up, you know, we typically have been called when everybody else has thrown their hands up and said, 'You know what? I'm done. I can't do anything with this.'" -Lt. Silva (pictured right)

Both police officers and firefighters say their roles in the community have expanded over the years to include dealing with people experiencing mental health crises. Police officers don't just catch "bad guys" anymore, and firefighters don't just put out fires. When someone decides to become a police officer and gets into the academy, oftentimes, they don't realize they're about to become a "street psychologist."

"Over the years, we've inherited a lot of responsibilities that we're really not, we don't have the means to handle, we don't have the training to handle." -Capt. Oster

Chief Reese echoes Capt. Oster's sentiments, saying, "And when they say first responders, that's for everything. We are first responders for the mental health community. Also, the problem is we've stepped into the role with minimal training. It's a scary situation, something that you really don't know how it's going to turn out and you have to take every precaution as possible with minimal training in mental illnesses."

CHAPTER 4 | HOPE FOR SOLUTIONS

While more and more people are becoming aware of what the mental health crisis is doing to the community, we are far away from solving the problems. Perhaps the biggest issue is a severe lack of resources to help the mentally ill. The demand for inpatient beds, psychiatric care, counseling, and affordable medication far outweigh the supply, leading many professionals to describe northwest Louisiana as a mental health desert.

"When we talk about a crisis, we're talking about access to care, access to resources, so when you don't have that, we are dealing with a crisis in this city." -Ryan Williams
"I can tell you, I've seen the demand grow tremendously since 2013. We've seen the number of people contacting us for services go up 60 percent." -William Weaver, CEO of Brentwood Hospital
"And in northwest Louisiana, always we have increased prevalence of mental illness, one of the highest in the United States. Unfortunately, we have probably the lowest available resources of anyone in the United States." -Dr. Kay Kennedy
"Behavioral health is unique within a hospital because it's a different set of patients. They are not necessarily medically ill, but they are ill." -Shun Murray, associate vice president of hospital operations for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport

Dr. Kennedy says just like with physical illnesses, mental illnesses take time to heal.

"A majority of serious mental illnesses are like diabetes, hypertension. They’re chronic illnesses, but you know, you're not going to be well in three days and so it takes time to heal," she said.

"They require more one-on-one, they require more hands-on. We're talking psychiatrists, we're talking social workers, we're talking recreational therapists, we're talking medical technicians, of course nurses," Murray said.

Many healthcare professionals agree there just aren't enough mental health providers in the community.

"If we had outpatient clinics where you could discharge somebody and say, you have an appointment in the mental health clinic five days from now, at this time, and if you don't show up, they'll call you and we'll reschedule it and we'll get things done, but the problem is those resources aren't there. There's simply a shortage of psychiatry and an overabundance of patients that need emergency psychiatric help," said Dr. Thoma.

Williams agrees, saying, "We don't have enough providers. There is a lack of social workers and mental health experts and psychiatrists and nurses and things like that inside of this area."

So why is it so hard to recruit mental health care providers to northwest Louisiana?

"Part of it is that lower pay, particularly for therapists and social workers. If you're choosing a career, looking at making $50,000 a year, and you need a master's degree to practice independently, a master's degree and a licensure, they can choose other fields that pay much, much better than that in our community," Weaver said.

Even if people know about the resources available to them, can pay for the care, and decide to seek it out, many times, they have to wait a long time to get an appointment due to the lack of providers. Williams says sometimes, people can wait up to three months for an appointment.

"It's a community problem. It's going to affect everybody here eventually, and I know this is an old phrase and it's a catch phrase, but we have to think outside the box because what we're doing is not working," said Dr. Patterson.

Dr. Bowers says when patients suffering a mental health crisis come through the doors at the ER, even if they're treated and released, they will likely end up back in the emergency room because they're not able to access and manage their medications.

"Continuity of care is just not there. Even if somebody cycles through Ochsner all the time, there may be a different psychiatrist coming through each time who has taken a different path to wellness." -Christa Pazzaglia

"A lot of times, these people were just left out in limbo to defend for themselves, and their next entry back into the medical community is back in the emergency department again," Dr. Thoma said.

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "And without that psychiatric care, without the therapy, without the medicines, what do you think would happen to these folks?"

Pazzaglia: "Eventually they would die, either from their addiction becoming overwhelming or suicide, or they would end up in jail, which is what happens to a lot of people who are mentally ill. Years ago, they got rid of every mental health long-term facility where people needed years of long-term assistance, and instead of fixing institutionalization, they did away with it completely. Well, there are a handful of people that need long-term institutionalization and it's not available."

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "Do you recall what the thought process was behind deinstitutionalization?"

"When it comes to mental health, get people out of institutions. They felt there was something inhumane about it." -Dr. Kay Kennedy

"As we deinstitutionalized the psychiatric population back in the '70s, '80s, into the '90s, we started closing down the large psychiatric hospitals or downsizing them because we wanted people to be treated in the community. Well, the idea of putting people in the community is great, but we have to have the services." -William Weaver

"This town [Shreveport], there used to be a lot more mental hospitals and mental health clinics. We have fought for a long period of time to try to get increased funding for mental health. They know the numbers are going up. I just don't think the funds are there." -Dr. Todd Thoma

"For some reason, in this particular state [Louisiana], the first thing we want to cut is education and healthcare, and those are the things, what we've ranked last in nationally, those are the things that we should be promoting. If you want to live in a happy community, you have to invest in it." -Ryan Williams

Despite all the obstacles, there is hope. Brentwood Hospital in Shreveport, the largest psychiatric hospital in Louisiana, continues to expand its services for children, adults, and seniors with mental illness. Weaver, the CEO, says the facility has 260 beds at this time, however, due to staffing issues, that 260 figure is really more like 230. The facility also has a dedicated substance abuse area.

Brent Martin, the CEO of Louisiana Behavioral Health (pictured left), says the facility he runs is expanding too.

"It will eventually have 89 beds to take care of people, but even that won't fill the demand, and I'd be challenged to be completely accurate, but I would say there's hundreds of patients that are in emergency rooms every day of the week at the end of the month that are being sent out to other facilities out of the city due to bed capacity. So this is a very positive thing for us to double, if not triple the amount of bed capacity that Oschner LSU Health has available to them, to build and provide that care in this," he said.

Williams says Seedlinks Behavior Management has been up and running for about five years now, and while they don't have any inpatient beds, he believes clinics like his are vitally important to the community.

"We are outpatient services, meaning that we don't have a facility with beds. Beds would mean inpatient, so that means that you come here, you see our doctor, you see our pharmacists, you see our nurses, and you go back to work or you go back home. Our goal is to get people to live in their community and be as normal as possible," he said.

Weaver says the goal is to only have the sickest of the sick occupying those available inpatient beds.

"These days, patients are truly the sickest of the sick to get admitted to the hospital. Otherwise, we want to get them into outpatient services. About 50 percent of the people who approach us are not going to get admitted to Brentwood, but if you are to that level, you're in such a crisis that you have to be hospitalized, it's very short-term. We're talking seven to 10 days. Now, for persons in the hospital, our task is really to stabilize the crisis, put a Band-Aid on it, if you will, and to try to instill some some coping skills and then get them connected to outpatient therapy services," said Weaver.

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "So really when we talk then about people with mental health issues that need inpatient care, these really are people who are sick, very sick?"

Martin: "Right. So we'll be admitting patients that walk in, are dropped off, that we will find in the community, or they'll come to us via emergency room. You'll be in-house, we'll provide services for you, and you'll be monitored by a nurse, therapist, and a physician consistently throughout your stay, and we’ll be able to manipulate and manage your needs and challenges to encompass whatever the best protocol or program is for you so you can then restore back to normal health and go about your regular, normal lives in an outpatient setting if you will."

Williams says at Seedlinks, they serve about 350 people at their outpatient facility.

"I created what we call a one-stop shop for mental healthcare, meaning that once you walk through our doors, you're supposed to be able to receive all the care that is needed when it pertains to mental healthcare here and then you go back into your community and live as abundantly as you can," he said.

KSLA's Stacey Cameron: "William, is there advice that you give to family members who see they have a loved one falling into a mental crisis?"

Weaver (pictured left): "Ask for help, whether that's contacting an outpatient clinic, whether that's calling the national suicide prevention hotlines. Certainly, we're here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We'll answer calls and provide information, but there's resources all over the country that people can access just to at least start talking about it to somebody outside the family, saying, 'Hey, what do I do now?'"

CONCLUSION

So is there a solution? Is there a way to improve the mental health crisis in the Shreveport-Bossier area and in Louisiana as a whole? How do we expand resources? How do we move forward? How do we help those who need it most?

"Is there hope here? There's a lot of hope here, and I think the potential here is not exhausted. I feel like it's everlasting, but we need to take advantage of what we have here and use it to the best of the ability." -Ryan Williams (pictured left)

Many medical professionals say there's still a stigma surrounding mental illness, and removing that stigma would be a good first step in addressing the crisis. Family members, healthcare workers, and first responders all seem to agree that not judging those who suffer from mental illness is crucial.

Dr. Bowers: "So one of the biggest things that we can do as a society is make it so that there is not a stigma and there's not a punishment for it [mental illness]."

Chief Reese: "There are people that have mental health issues, whether it be bipolar, schizophrenia, hallucinations, delusions, whatever the case is, they're still people, and you have to treat them as such and we need to learn to work with them."

Fox: "There's more people out there that, you know, they need the help and they're scared to get it because they're going to be judged."

Capt. Oster: "The way you policed in 1970 isn't anywhere close to what we do today. Is what we do today correct? Can we make it better? Heck yeah we can, and we're listening to all those things. We're changing those things."

Larkins: "I want better for the mentally ill. When people call for help for their family, if you have to call 911, there should be somebody trained. When you pick up the phone and say, 'Hey, my schizophrenic son is having a manic episode, I need someone to come, calm him down, and help him and get him help,' that's what it should be. It shouldn't be police pulling up like they're coming to handle a criminal."

Lt. Silva: "So we have to be mentally healthy, and we have to be able to identify officers that may be suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, and we need to see about getting those folks some help."

One of the larger issues though, may be income disparity, which creates a domino effect of problems. If someone doesn't have the means to travel to a mental health facility, how does its existence help them? Or what if they don't have any way to pay for the care once they get there? What if they don't know about the help that's out there to begin with?

"There is a huge gap between the haves and the have-nots, people who have access to healthcare and people who don't. That gap is too wide in this area. You need to figure out how to close it," said Williams.

"I don't think this is something that Brentwood or any outpatient clinic, or one of the med surge hospitals here in northwest Louisiana is going to solve. I think it requires all of us working together." -William Weaver (pictured left)

Dr. Bowers says something that commonly keeps people from seeking treatment is fear. Meanwhile, the Caddo Parish coroner, Dr. Thoma, suggests more money needs to be given to doctors, counselors, and social workers so they have the resources they need to treat people so those who wind up being arrested don't keep committing crimes.

"It takes funding. It’s got to take some public funds. It's gonna' have to be state and federal funds to help get more places open. If you could be really aware of who you vote for and how they stand on that, and once they get in office hold their feet to the fire," said Dr. Kennedy.

Weaver encourages those who have family members with mental illness to speak out on their behalf.

"We need more advocacy. It's one thing for those of us in the industry to be advocating, it's something else when parents of children or parents of adults that have mental health and substance abuse get active and start contacting elected officials. They will be listened to much more quickly than those of us who are in the profession," he said.

"I want everyone to understand that this is not just a certain part of town's issue, this is a complete issue for an entire city, especially if we're going to ever be a complete city," said Williams.

Jeremy Fox's widow, Brandy, says judging a person for their mental illness hurts the family too.

"Don't judge the person. Find out who the person is first, what's going on in their life. Don't just judge them. All you're doing is hurting the family and that cuts deep," she said.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

1.800.273.8255

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

NORTHWEST LOUISIANA

318.626.5597

1533 Marshall St., Shreveport

ABOUT SEEDLINKS BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT

It is our mission to assertively and professionally produce long-term services for the families and communities we serve in order to efficiently initiate access to recovery and mental healthcare. SeedLinks Behavior Management, llc advocates for planning and policies at all levels of society to provide accessible, reliable mental health services with a focus on prevention and treatment.

318.670.4591

2350 Levy St., Shreveport

ABOUT HOPE CONNECTIONS

The Vision of HOPE Connections is that no individual or family has to experience homelessness in northwest Louisiana. To bring that vision into reality, HOPE’s mission is to guide and foster a comprehensive, coordinated homeless services system for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness grounded in rich collaboration and engaging the passion of the community.

877.678.7500 or 318.678.7500

1006 Highland Ave., Shreveport

ABOUT BRENTWOOD HOSPITAL

Brentwood Hospital is the largest psychiatric hospital in Louisiana. We’ve been providing help and hope to people across the State of Louisiana, east Texas, and southern Arkansas since 1971 by offering behavioral health and substance abuse treatment. Providing services for patients age 4 and up, our confidential, caring environment promotes crisis resolution, positive self-awareness, social skills, and personal growth through exceptional mental health services and clinical excellence across acute inpatient and outpatient levels of care.

318.644.8830

9320 Linwood Ave., Shreveport

ABOUT LOUISIANA BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

At Louisiana Behavioral Health, we are passionate about helping adults and seniors attain the best possible quality of life. As a nationally recognized provider of behavioral health services, we treat patients experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, behavioral changes related to medication management or substance abuse, and other behavioral issues. Through our inpatient behavioral services and intensive outpatient programs, Louisiana Behavioral Health offers comprehensive behavioral and mental health services to help patients at every stage of the healing process. Our staff is committed to caring for patients and their families with dignity, honesty and compassion.

866.416.5370

1310 N Hearne Ave., Shreveport | 210 Medical Dr., Natchitoches | 502 Nella St., Minden

ABOUT NORTHWEST LOUISIANA HUMAN SERVICES DISTRICT

The Northwest Louisiana Human Services District was created by Act 373 in the 2008 Legislative Session. The goal of the NLHSD is to serve the parishes of Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Claiborne, Bienville, Red River, Desoto, Sabine, and Natchitoches as a Local Governmental Entity (LGE). On May 19, 2014, the district completed its readiness assessment and began operating as a fully authorized Local Governmental Entity on July 1, 2014. NLHSD is one of 10 LGEs created by the Louisiana Legislature as part of a statewide integrated human services delivery system. With local management, LGEs provide behavioral health and developmental disabilities services to the residents of Louisiana. Accordingly, LGEs operate within a framework anchored in clear public policy objectives, well-defined local responsibilities, and accountability measures designed to assure quality services are delivered efficiency and effectively.

1.800.273.8255

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS - LOUISIANA

NAMI Louisiana is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization made up of family members, peers, behavioral health professionals, and friends. The mission and purpose of NAMI Louisiana shall be to support and advocate at the local, state, and national levels the promotion of the quality of care, rights, and interests of those affected by mental illness. NAMI Louisiana is dedicated to eradicating the stigma, myths, and misconceptions of mental illnesses, to improving the quality of life for all who are affected by these illnesses, and to supporting recovery. It supports local affiliates by providing leadership, training, and technical assistance. It is dedicated to serving our communities by empowering peers and families and promoting meaningful systems of change. As mental illness strikes people regardless of age, race, creed, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or many other differences we may have on the surface, we are working to be inclusive of everyone.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS

870.773.4655 or 1.800.652.9166

2904 Arkansas Blvd., Texarkana

ABOUT THE SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS COUNSELING & MENTAL HEALTH CENTER

It is the mission of the Southwest Arkansas Counseling and Mental Health Center, Inc. to prevent, treat, and cure mental illnesses and related disorders. No one will be denied access to services due to an inability to pay. A sliding fee scale is available and is based on family size and income. Serving individuals in Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, and Sevier counties (with limited services in Nevada and Pike counties). For over 40 years, Southwest Arkansas Counseling & Mental Health Center, Inc. (SWACMHC) has been providing services for individuals and families throughout southwestern Arkansas. Services are provided to individuals with mental health and/or substance abuse problems, as well as youth experiencing legal problems.

870.626.0328

701 Arkansas Blvd., Texarkana

ABOUT RIVERVIEW BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

Riverview Behavioral Health is the premier psychiatric center in Texarkana, Arkansas, where children, adolescents, and adults can receive comprehensive inpatient help for the mental health challenges that have disrupted their lives. Riverview Behavioral Health is a 62-bed inpatient hospital treating individuals suffering from a mental health primary diagnosis from ages 12 and up. Our treatment center is located in Texarkana, Ark. serving the greater southwest Arkansas region. Riverview Behavioral Health is the area’s only full service mental health treatment center with a comprehensive continuum of psychiatric and behavioral health services:

  • Acute inpatient adolescent services
  • Acute adult inpatient services
  • Off-site mobile assessment services

Treatment is under the medical direction and supervision of our staff psychiatrists and administered by nurses, social workers, therapists, recreational specialists, special education teachers and a team of other caring mental health professionals. Riverview Behavioral Health offers a confidential, caring environment that promotes crisis resolution, positive self awareness, social skills, and personal growth that is monitored in a safe environment 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

903.949.9962

4613 Parkway Dr., Texarkana

ABOUT GROWTH COUNSELING SERVICES

At Growth Counseling Services, we provide counseling services to adults, couples and adolescents in Texarkana and the surrounding areas. We focus on working with individuals who are dealing with depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and grief. Our work also includes treating individuals and couples, who struggle with building and maintaining healthy relationships. It is our belief that everyone has the personal strength to heal and grow with the help from a counseling relationship that works for them. Together we will work to unlock unhealthy patterns and discover your inner resources that will bring you happiness to your life and your relationships.

4077 Jefferson Ave., Texarkana, 903.791.1110 | 1205 E 35th St., Texarkana, 870.216.0082

ABOUT GENESIS PRIMECARE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOPE AND RECOVERY CENTER

Our program is designed to help people recover from overwhelming and hurtful experiences. We provide excellent support, healthy coping skills, and evidence-based care in a safe and healing environment. Trauma is a result of overwhelming or terrifying events or situations. A person may experience an actual event or be a witness to an accident. The person may become overwhelmed emotionally, physically, and mentally. Exposure to traumatic events can cause feelings of terror, intense fear, helplessness, and physical reactions. These events can often produce lasting changes in your emotions, thoughts, your body's stress response, and how your body feels. The impact of traumatic stress, if unaddressed, can be long-lasting and can have a significant impact on your emotional and physical health. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of trauma due to their dependence on adults for their care and safety. Children often find it hard to manage their behavior and calm themselves down. Some people may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

EAST TEXAS

903.212.3105

615 Clinic Dr., Longview

ABOUT OCEANS BEHAVIORAL HOSPITAL

At Oceans Behavioral Hospital Longview, healing is our focus. We are passionate about helping adults and seniors manage the challenges associated with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Utilizing proven, innovative, and progressive therapies, our qualified professionals strive to promote long-term wellness through a range of inpatient and outpatient psychiatric counseling and treatment options.

1.800.832.1009 or 1.800.446.8253

107 Woodbine Pl., Longview

ABOUT COMMUNITY HEALTHCORE

Serving as the mental health and intellectual disability governing authority for Bowie, Cass, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Red River, Rusk, and Upshur counties. Helping people and their families heal the consequences of mental illness. Assisting people with an intellectual disability and their families achieve maximum independence in all aspects of their lives. Providing programs and services in greater east Texas that help people lead lives free from addictions.

1400 College Dr., Texarkana, 903.791.1110 | 1011 S William St., Atlanta, 903.796.2868 | 622 S Grove St., Marshall, 903.702.7900

ABOUT GENESIS PRIMECARE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOPE AND RECOVERY CENTER

Our program is designed to help people recover from overwhelming and hurtful experiences. We provide excellent support, healthy coping skills, and evidence-based care in a safe and healing environment. Trauma is a result of overwhelming or terrifying events or situations. A person may experience an actual event or be a witness to an accident. The person may become overwhelmed emotionally, physically, and mentally. Exposure to traumatic events can cause feelings of terror, intense fear, helplessness, and physical reactions. These events can often produce lasting changes in your emotions, thoughts, your body's stress response, and how your body feels. The impact of traumatic stress, if unaddressed, can be long-lasting and can have a significant impact on your emotional and physical health. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of trauma due to their dependence on adults for their care and safety. Children often find it hard to manage their behavior and calm themselves down. Some people may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

NATIONAL

1.800.273.8255

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

703.524.7600

4301 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.

ABOUT NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

1.800.273.8255 opt. 1

ABOUT THE VETERANS CRISIS LINE

Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are veterans themselves.

CREDITS

Stacey Cameron | Director

Bubba Kneipp | Director of photography

Mark Klein | Graphical producer and drone photographer

Sacha Purciful | Executive in charge of production

Jayne Ruben | Executive producer

Rachael Thomas | Digital producer

Written, produced, and edited by Stacey Cameron

PICTURED IN FILM - ALPHABETICALLY

Dr. Jacquelyn Bowers | Director of emergency services for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport

James Carter | Managing partner of trials and mass torts for The Cochran Firm

Stacey Cameron | Chief investigative reporter for KSLA News 12

Bessie Mae Dew | Mother of Johnathan Jefferson

Brandy Fox | Wife of Jeremy Fox

Dr. Kathryn Kennedy | Adult and geriatric psychiatrist for Brentwood Hospital

Dana Larkins | Sister of Johnathan Jefferson

Brent Martin | CEO of Louisiana Behavioral Health

Shun Murray | Associate vice president of hospital operations for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport

Capt. Tom Oster | Shreveport Police Department

Dr. James Patterson II | Associate professor and chair of psychiatry for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport

Christa Pazzaglia | Executive director for HOPE Connections

Chief Clarence Reese Jr. | Shreveport Fire Department

Lt. Jerry Silva | Academy training director for Shreveport Police Department

Joe Smarro | CEO of SolutionPoint+

Dr. Todd Thoma | Caddo Parish coroner and associate professor of emergency medicine for Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport

William Weaver | CEO of Brentwood Hospital

Ryan Williams | CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management

"Breakdown: The Frontline Response to the Mental Health Crisis" is sponsored by Brentwood Hospital