BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– As Mental Health Awareness Month continues, local organizations ensured that everyone has access to the proper resources, after more than a year of the pandemic.

Mental health has been a major issue plaguing Louisiana communities throughout the past year and a half.

During a presentation at the end of 2020, Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health Charlene Gradney said, “We had the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had multiple disasters in Louisiana, there’s been social unrest and so much happening. and what we are seeing a lot is pandemic fatigue.”

As the pandemic continues, 80 percent of people have experienced an increase in depression, anxiety, alcohol, and drug usage.

The Bridge Center for Hope Executive Director Charlotte Claiborne said, “There is a need there, as restrictions are being relaxed. We’re expected to see more each month to more and more people come and utilize the services.”

Over time more services have become available. 

Claiborne said, “People think, a lot of times that people don’t want help. They want help, they just don’t know where to go to receive it.”

Therefore Baton Rouge’s Bridge Center for Hope aimed to bridge the gap between people and resources.

“It’s hard to navigate throughout a system you are not familiar with, so, it’s important for them to navigate the system to find out what they need,” said Claiborne.

They planned to connect people with mental health providers and community partners.

Claiborne explained, “You will be able to come out and stop at each individual table to learn about the service and programs they have. Pick up some resource materials.”

The event will be on May 19. One session starts at 9am and another at 1pm.

The bridging the gap to mental health awareness community event will be held in Baton Rouge at the Main Library off of Goodwood Blvd.