NEDHSA inks MOUs with NELA Arts Council, NELA Music Awards to further recognize art as treatment strategy

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council (NELAAC) and the NELA Music Awards, respectively. Each MOU is an effort to recognize arts as one of its integrated health care, evidence-based prevention, communications, and treatment strategies to help serve persons with mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said, “partnering with art-focused agencies shows NEDHSA’s commitment to non-traditional and innovative treatment solutions for persons with behavior health challenges, as well as its commitment to economic development.”

“We believe there is medicine in creative expression, and the arts can help a person come alive in ways traditional treatment options can’t,” Dr. Sizer said. “We intend to help create an environment where dreams are realized, families are strong, bodies are healthy, community institutions are thriving, and spirits are renewed.”

According to the Americans for the Arts, 69 percent of the United States population believe the arts “lift me beyond everyday experiences,” 73 percent feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in,” and 81 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”

NEDHSA’s MOU with NELAAC is to support local arts in the community and create expansive health promotion and educational awareness to various populations. The NELAAC nurtures a vibrant regional arts culture through support, promotion, and education. This partnership will inform, educate, and remind our community about our agency services while providing art-sponsored events that contribute to holistic and emotional well-being.

NELAAC Director Barry Stephens said HSA’s support of the Arts Council’s Brown Bag concert series is “another indication of their commitment to our community and the healing arts.”

“Music is a healer and a unifier. What better way for these two organizations to partner than through this 41-year-old concert series,” Stephens said. “We’re happy to have the HSA join with us as we bring music to the community through these free concerts.”

NEDHSA’s MOU with NELA Music Awards, Inc., also supports local musical artists in the community and creates expansive health promotion and educational awareness for various populations. This partnership will inform, educate, and remind our community about our agency services while providing art-sponsored events that contribute to holistic and emotional well-being.

NELA Music Awards President Myra Akers said, “The NELA Music Awards is proud to partner with the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority.”

“Music can soothe the soul, ease pain, change our mood, and remind us of many great memories,” Akers said. “Thanks for giving our talented musicians another venue to showcase their talents. We have so many creatives in Northeast Louisiana.”

NEDHSA has brought many art initiatives to the region, such as psychodramas, Jiggaerobics, hip hop-to-prevention efforts, and partnering with arts and communications programs at regional colleges and universities.

Through this effort, NEDHSA and its partners hosted the first music mini-fest on March 19, 2024, called “Treat Yo’ Self Tuesday,” an event that brought local music artists and music groups to perform at no cost to the public as a treatment modality for healing.

In December 2021, NEDHSA sponsored a mural created by the University of Louisiana Monroe Honors Art Class and the Art & Entrepreneurship Class that was designed and created as a public art project to inspire ULM students to seek help, destigmatize seeking help, and provide solutions to help overcome mental health issues. Since then, the agency has displayed the mural at the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum in Monroe, the Union Museum of History & Art in Farmerville, Madison Parish High School in Tallulah, and the Chennault Aviation Museum in Monroe.

Dr. Sizer said art could be that spark that further “ignites better regional population health, racial unity, economic opportunities for all, and pride in where we call home.”

 “It’s our time to create a place we are all proud of, a place where we foster hope and opportunities for all, Dr. Sizer said. “There is no better time than now. This is our now time.” 

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For more information, contact DeRon Talley at (318) 237-9973 or email deron.talley@la.gov.

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Dr. Monteic A. Sizer
Dr. Monteic A. Sizer

Dr. Monteic A. Sizer serves as Executive Director of Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (Northeast Delta HSA). He joined the organization in May 2013 as its first Executive Director. He is uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of citizens located in the twelve Northeast Delta HSA parishes he represents because he exemplifies how people can meet their greatest human potential based on accountability, integrity and a willingness to engage in their own lives.

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