Monroe, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) expands its efforts and commitment to improving population health through relationships with local government organizations and municipalities by providing training and resources to combat mental health and addiction disorders.
To influence the negative impact of social determinants, NEDHSA’s Integrated Care model works to improve the lives of Northeast Louisiana’s most vulnerable populations. The agency has created partnerships with local and state governments, higher educational institutions, and related organizations to help combat food insecurity, high unemployment, community instability, poor education, and inadequate housing options.
NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said, “we can effectively help our citizens meet many of their physical and behavioral health needs; however, we cannot solve complex societal problems alone. We need a shared vision and a laser-like focus on solutions.”
“We are connecting more strategically and leveraging our assets to impact upstream or those systemic factors that cause higher rates of downstream outcomes like mental illness, addiction, primary health care challenges, and poverty,” Dr. Sizer said. “We understand the intersectionality between our work and the work of state and regional public policies and governance decisions.”
An example of a partnership with other government agencies and municipals is its work with the Town of Farmerville and Union Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (OHSEP). NEDHSA will provide Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), an evidence-based two-day face-to-face workshop featuring powerful audiovisuals, discussions, and simulations. Because NEDHSA is providing this training, the Town of Farmerville and Union Parish OHSEP will learn how to identify and reduce suicide by recognizing signs, providing skilled interventions, and developing a safety plan to keep someone alive. This program helps save lives and costs, yielding a return on investment of up to 50:1.
Farmerville Mayor John Crow said the town is “committed to providing the necessary resources for our citizens to live full, meaningful lives and enjoy the natural beauty that our parish offers.”
“Partnering with Northeast Delta Human Services Authority allows us to train our first responders, law enforcement, and school personnel on how to respond to a citizen in crisis,” Mayor Crow said. “Thank you, Dr. Sizer and Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, for providing such an important and much-needed service directly in our parish.”
Union Parish OHSEP Director Shannon Futch, LEM-T, said, “this workshop in suicide first aid will be a vital training for our Law Enforcement, School Personnel, and Emergency Management.”
“Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis,” Futch said. “Learning risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help will allow Union Parish First Responders to help our residents during a chaotic time in their lives.”
NEDHSA is also establishing relationships with downtown districts within other municipal governments to assist with blight mitigation and beautification efforts through mural art. As another layer of scaling its Integrated Care model within the 12-parish region, the agency is using its arts initiative to implement evidencebased prevention, communications, and treatment strategies. The agency currently has a mobile mural traveling through the region and a mural in downtown Monroe’s Art Alley.
Dr. Sizer said, “we will continue to be intentional about scaling our Integrated Health model in Louisiana’s Delta.”
“We will be more focused on helping regional mayors, municipal leaders, school superintendents, business executives, and law enforcement officials better understand the connection between jobs, housing, municipal infrastructure, education, food deserts, poverty, and behavioral and primary health outcomes,” Dr. Sizer said. “We must think and act systemically if we hope to see significant population health improvements and economic prosperity in our region.”