Baton Rouge behavioral hospital experiences a high volume of patients due to pandemic

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Oceans Behavioral Hospital Baton Rouge is seeing a high volume of patients after being open for just under a week.

Administrator, Valerie Dalton, says the demand comes from people dealing with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“44% of Louisiana’s documented mentally ill population missed treatment last year,” Dalton said. “Patients that have been in ICU for months come home, they have post-traumatic stress, they can’t go to the grocery store, they’re afraid to leave their house.” 

The newest location has 40 beds and will provide mental health assistance in these areas:

  • Managing post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Other forms of mental illness

James Banister is the director of nursing at the hospital and works one on one with the patients. He says what he is seeing is trauma.

“There was a lot of fear and unknown in the country and a lot of time fear and anxiety is what drives mental illness,” he said.

The location of the hospital is crucial. It’s only one out of three mental health providers in North Baton Rouge. Dalton says there is a stigma for mental health in the area, which she wants to conquer.

“We want people to know you are no different than anyone else,” she said.

The hospital is trying to meet high demand while fighting the national shortage of nurses. Ocean’s is seeking to hire at least 20 more employees.

“It’s difficult, but our staff makes it work. We know our patients need us,” Banister said.

Those who are seeking for mental health services can visit here.

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