Behavioral Health

Many New Orleans residents carry a heavy burden from mental health, substance use, and other behavioral health issues. The City of New Orleans recognizes the importance of these issues and is working to make a healthier and happier life for people who need help.

2023 Annual Opioid Report

The New Orleans Health Department and community partners have published this report to address the overdose crisis through multiple approaches. This report provides information and data about these approaches and explores how Orleans Parish plans to utilize its Opioid Settlement Funds for opioid-related activities in 2024.

Download the 2023 Annual Opioid Report

Projects

Opioid Survival Connection

The Opioid Survival Connection is a program funded by federal grants through the Department of Justice that uses various tools to address the opioid crisis:

  • linkage to substance use treatment
  • education on addiction and treatment options
  • community outreach
  • distribution of naloxone (aka Narcan)
  • Bystander Response training on how to use naloxone, hands-only CPR and Stop the Bleed, and
  • placement and maintenance of sharps containers

Community Health Improvement Plan

The NOHD Behavioral Health team is responsible for coordinating efforts toward the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) behavioral health objectives:

  • Reduce harm associated with drug use
  • Increase access to mental health and substance use treatment (including MAT)
  • Increase the proportion of children and adolescents who receive evidence-based preventative mental health interventions in school (Healthy People 2030 LHI)
  • Decrease use of the criminal justice system for behavioral health interventions

New Orleans Opioid Task Force

Since December 2017, NOHD has convened bi-monthly meetings of the Opioid Task Force, comprised of community stakeholders, including treatment providers, first responders, law enforcement agencies, medical and public health professionals, and policy advocates. 

The Task Force is designed to bring together people from various sectors to share information about current strategies to address the opioid crisis in New Orleans and to collaborate on future efforts.

The Opioid Task Force has three subcommittees to address specific issues:

  • Data collection & consolidation and Overdose Detection and Mapping Application Program (ODMAP)
  • Harm reduction efforts and coordination
  • Outreach & care coordination and direct service providers

Alternative Dispatch

The City of New Orleans is committed to responding to its constituents experiencing behavioral health crises in the most appropriate way possible. Similar to the response from Emergency Medical Services to an immediate medical need or New Orleans Fire Department to a house fire, the City of New Orleans seeks to provide a team of professionals trained in behavioral health crisis intervention to respond to those in the midst of an acute behavioral health crisis. As such, the City of New Orleans supports an Alternative Dispatch system with a Mobile Crisis Outreach Team that operates 24/7/365, is integrated through the local 911 system, and responds in person to those in a behavioral health crisis.  

Partnerships

Sobering Center

Public intoxication has many major impacts on the City of New Orleans, including loss of life, reduced productivity, diminished quality of life, and significant cost to taxpayers.

In 2019, the City of New Orleans partnered with Odyssey House Louisiana to establish a 25-bed sobering center near the French Quarter.

The primary function of the sobering center is to provide a safe, monitored environment for intoxicated individuals to sober, regain baseline functioning, and return to their regular activity. The secondary function is to seize the opportunity to engage, motivate and link hazardous substance users to recovery-oriented community services and stay engaged with supportive individuals once they return to the community and embark upon long-term recovery. Sobering centers can improve the public health landscape and the overall wellness of the city by providing (particularly in key economic and tourist areas) a place with higher cleanliness, safety, and quality of life.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)

The Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is a court procedure created through Louisiana’s Assistive Outpatient Treatment law (Louisiana Revised Statute 28:66-76). AOT is a judicial commitment for outpatient psychiatric treatment. Typically, a patient has the option to decline treatment for behavioral health issues; however, this sometimes causes a worsening of the individual’s condition and creates significant problems for the family, friends, and themselves. Like other forms of judicial commitments, AOT is used only in limited circumstances. AOT takes away the optional aspect of accessing treatment and makes treatment mandatory in cases with a clear danger of adverse outcomes, and other approaches have failed. AOT is based on the theory that people who need treatment but who are resistant will comply when ordered by a judge. The New Orleans AOT program is operated by Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese and Healing Minds NOLA. New Orleans AOT receives annual funding from the City of New Orleans.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)

The New Orleans LEAD program began as a partnership between NOHD, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), the Vera Institute of Justice, and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Coordination (OCJC). LEAD currently operates in the NOPD 8th District and gives officers the discretion to divert individuals at risk for arrest to case management instead of entering the criminal justice system. Eligible participants are those who show signs or symptoms of mental illness or substance use disorder, and are at risk of arrest for non-violent, low level Municipal offenses. Case managers help connect participants to various resources, including mental health treatment, substance use treatment, and housing assistance. NAMI New Orleans provides project management and case management.

Naloxone Distribution

Naloxone is a life-saving medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. NOHD partners with New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (NOEMS) and New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) to provide naloxone (aka Narcan) to people across our community.  

  • In 2021, NOHD joined a partnership to provide Narcan to area fire stations for distribution to the public. NOFD is now able to provide Narcan at four area fire stations:  
    • Fire Station #1 at 2920 Magazine Street
    • Fire Station #29 at 317 Decatur Street
    • Fire Station #36 at 5401 Read Boulevard
    • Fire Station #40 at 2500 General DeGaulle Drive
  • NOEMS often responds to opioid overdoses where the patient declines to be brought to the hospital after being revived with naloxone. In 2022, NOHD began providing EMS with Narcan to leave with these patients, so they have it easily accessible if they or a friend has a future overdose.
  • Since the spring of 2021, NOHD staff members go into the community weekly to conduct outreach, distribute naloxone, and offer to link people to substance use treatment.
    • If you or a loved one needs Narcan/naloxone, please call (504) 434-0909

For more information, review the Orleans Parish Substance Use Resource Guide.

Getting help

Getting help for behavioral health challenges can be confusing. Here are a few suggestions if you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness, substance use disorder (aka addiction), or other behavioral health issues:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

VIA LINK provides information, referrals, training, and crisis intervention to people, organizations, and communities so they can help themselves and others. VIA LINK can be reached by dialing 211.  
vialink.org

Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD) serves uninsured or Medicaid-eligible individuals suffering from mental illness or addiction. They can be reached at (504) 568-3130. MHSD also operates a 24-hour crisis line at (504) 826-2675
https://www.mhsdla.org/

CrescentCare is a local leader in harm reduction, and provides a wide array of services, including those addressing behavioral health challenges. (504) 821-2601
https://www.crescentcare.org/

Odyssey House Louisiana (OHL) is a non-profit behavioral health care provider with an emphasis on addiction treatment. For medically supported detox, call (504) 821-9211. For inpatient rehab treatment, call (504) 821-9211 (extension 7618 & 7619)
https://www.ohlinc.org/

NAMI New Orleans offers a variety of education, support services, and advocacy efforts to help individuals and families cope with the effects of mental illness and increase public understanding.
https://namineworleans.org/