Partnership allows for free mental health counseling

Free mental health counseling is now available for eligible low- to moderate-income residents in Lake Charles through a partnership with the city and Lake Charles Memorial Health System.

Mayor Nic Hunter and Dr. Dale Archer, a Lake Area psychiatrist with more than 30 years of experience, announced the behavioral health services program Tuesday. It is being funded through a $300,000 grant the city received as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program expires at the end of December 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the landfall of Hurricanes Laura and Delta last year, the February winter storm and the May flood have all contributed to increased stress levels for residents citywide, Archer said. These hardships have also made affording mental health care even more challenging.

“I’ve never seen a mental health need greater than what the community is facing right now,” he said. “(The program) came at really just a crucial time for these individuals trying to get help.”

Those who qualify for the program will be scheduled for a counseling session and will be evaluated, Archer said. Health officials will then determine what level of care is required.

Archer said the program is open to individuals, families and children. He said he is encouraged that mental health problems are being recognized as a serious situation that shouldn’t be ignored.

“If an individual is suffering, they need to get help, just like any other medical problem,” he said. “I hope this is showing that if we can get people help, it helps their physical health, and it makes the community stronger.”

Hunter said the city has received just over $1 million in CARES Act funding, with some of it being spent on mortgage and rental assistance, along with the small business stabilization fund. However, the city also recognized the need for additional mental health services.

“We have all had a lot of stress over the last year and half,” Hunter said. “We want to try and offer some opportunity for Lake Charles citizens to sit down and visit with someone about that. We’ve got to do more as a society to erase the stigma of mental health, and we are willing to do that as a city.”

The program will be carried out at Lake Charles Memorial Health System’s Behavioral Health Clinic, 2829 Fourth Ave., Suite 150.

To apply, call Lake Charles Memorial Health System at 480-7801.

Crime

Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder

Crime

Sheriff: Body found on the side of the road

life

Team Green Wednesday recycling drop-off schedule has changed

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Cemetery holds burial for seven unclaimed veterans

Business

Commonwealth LNG accused of mowing over threatened bird habitat

Local News

Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Local News

Release of 1M barrels of gas ‘not likely’ to ease price at pump

Crime

LC man charged with child porn possession

Local News

Scooter Hobbs column: Everything you need to know (and more) about LSU opponent

Local News

Lake Charles, Sulphur populations down, but Hunter says news isn’t all bad

life

STEM-centric Saturday: Phillips 66 STEM Family Fun Day in the Park this weekend

Local News

Four local educators finalists for state teacher, principal of the year

Crime

Trial begins for man accused in fatal Sherry Street shooting

Crime

GUILTY: Trump becomes first former US president convicted of felony crimes

Crime

Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts Chad Daybell of killing wife and girlfriend’s 2 children

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Potential for severe storms into Saturday

Local News

Sowela awarded nearly $300,000 to support mental health intiativies

Local News

Louisiana may soon require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

Crime

Jury in Trump trial resume deliberations after asking to rehear testimony

Crime

Two injured in Wednesday shooting

life

Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office joins ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign

Local News

LDH urges precautions for mosquitoes to protect against West Nile, dengue

Local News

SUV pulled from same waterway where body recovered earlier this week

Crime

LCPD: Ice pick stabbing after fight breaks out in car