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Louisiana Mental Health Services Guide

Many people don't realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in their state. People looking for free or low-cost counseling often think their only options are counselors in private practice and don't know that publicly-funded providers in their communities may also offer counseling services. 


While state-based programs are not for everyone, they're often a great place to start for people who face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help people learn whether they qualify for state-funded services and can refer people who don't qualify to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet their needs.


When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?

Few private mental health providers are able to immediately serve people in crisis, while most state mental health systems have crisis response systems that help people get mental health care quickly in an emergency. 


While the availability and type of crisis response services varies by region, the public mental health system is the primary source for immediate mental health care in Louisiana and one of your best options if you're in crisis and need help right away. The people who answer crisis lines can provide caring support as they help you determine the best response to a crisis, whether it's inpatient treatment or an appointment with a counselor.


Community mental health clinics (CMHCs) in Louisiana are publicly-funded outpatient programs that provide care for people who lack the means to access outpatient mental health services in the private sector. In addition to offering affordable therapy, CMHCs provide specialized and intensive services that aren't available anywhere else or that are hard to find in private clinics. These specialized services help people with severe mental health conditions maintain a better quality of life. Consider going to a CMHC if you need intensive treatment or can't access mental health care in the private sector due to your diagnosis or financial situation.


Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in Louisiana?

Many Louisiana CMHCs don't have restrictive clinical eligibility criteria. This means you don't have to have a serious mental illness (SMI) to get treatment at those clinics. You simply need to have a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or a trauma-related disorder. Eligibility criteria vary by region, so it's a good idea to contact your Local Governing Entity (LGE) or district human services department to ask about the clinical requirements for CMHC services where you live.


All Louisiana CMHCs have income-based eligibility criteria. In general, Louisiana CMHCs provide services to people with limited incomes who have Medicaid, who are Medicaid-eligible, or who are uninsured. Specific financial eligibility criteria vary by region. If you're not sure whether you're eligible, reach out and call your region's LGE or the clinic where you'd like to receive services. They should be able to tell you over the phone whether you're likely to qualify and whether you should come in for an in-person assessment. 


When Louisiana accepted federal Medicaid expansion in 2016, it significantly increased the number of people in Louisiana who are eligible for Medicaid and Medicaid-funded services like mental health services at district clinics. In Louisiana, you're currently eligible for Medicaid if your income is 138 percent of the federal poverty level or less.


If you qualify for services at a Louisiana CMHC, you'll need to pay for the care you receive using cash or insurance. Most CMHCs accept Medicare, Medicaid, and a range of private insurance plans. They also offer reduced and sliding-scale fees to people who lack insurance and can't afford full fees. To find out how fees at your local CMHC compare to fees for private providers, you can call your local clinic and ask what they charge. Availability of counseling and other clinical services depends on each CMHC's funding and staff at any given time.


If you're not finding the care you need through the state system or tried it and felt like it wasn't the right fit, you can try searching for free or low-cost counselors on OpenCounseling.


How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in Louisiana?

The best way to find out about your local public mental health clinic in Louisiana is to call the program directly. Each regional mental health service district, or LGE, also has a central office you can contact. You can reach the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) at (225) 342-9500 for general information or if you're not sure which LGE or clinic to call. You can also refer to the LGE Directory on the OBH website for updated links and phone numbers to regional offices. For your convenience, we have also listed current contact information for all Louisiana LGEs, mental health crisis lines, and district clinics below.


Louisiana Mental Health Clinics and Access Numbers

  • Acadiana Area Human Services District
    1. Serving Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermillion Parishes
    2. Main Office: (337) 262-4100
    3. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Service Locations:
      • Crowley Behavioral Health Clinic (Crowley): (337) 788-7511
      • New Iberia Behavioral Health Clinic (New Iberia): (337) 373-0002
      • Opelousas Behavioral Health Clinic (Opelousas): (337) 948-0226
      • Tyler Behavioral Health Clinic (Lafayette): (337) 262-4100
      • Ville Platte Behavioral Health Clinic (Ville Platte): (337) 363-5525


  • Capital Area Human Services District
    1. Serving Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana Parishes
    2. Main EBR Parish Clinic: (225) 925-1906 or (800) 768-8824
    3. Administrative Offices: (225) 922-2700 or (866) 628-2133
    4. VIA LINK's Baton Rouge Crisis Line: (844) 452-2133
    5. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Service Locations:
      • Ascension Parish:
        • Gonzales Mental Health Center (Gonzales): (225) 621-5770/5775
        • Donaldsonville Mental Health Center (Donaldsonville): (225) 621-5770 or (225) 907-2218
      • East Baton Rouge Parish:
        • Center for Adult Behavioral Health (CABH): (225) 925-1906
        • Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center (Baton Rouge): (225) 359-9315
      • Iberville Parish:
        • Iberville Parish Behavioral Health Satellite Clinic (Plaquemine): (225) 922-3281 or (225) 907-2218
      • Pointe Coupee Parish:
        • Point Coupee Behavioral Health Satellite Clinic (New Roads): (225) 922-3281 or (225) 907-2218
      • West Baton Rouge Parish:
        • West Baton Rouge Behavioral Health Satellite Clinic (Port Allen): (225) 922-3281 or (225) 907-2218
      • West Feliciana Parish:
        • West Feliciana Behavioral Health Satellite Clinic (St. Francisville): (225) 907-2218



  • Florida Parishes Human Services Authority
    1. Serving Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes
    2. Main Number: (985) 543-4333
    3. FPHSA Crisis Line: (855) 268-1091 or 211
    4. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations:
      • Rosenblum Behavioral Health Clinic (Hammond): (985) 543-4730
      • Mandeville Behavioral Health Clinic (Mandeville): (985) 624-4450
      • Slidell Behavioral Health Clinic (Slidell): (985) 646-6406
      • Bogalusa Behavioral Health Clinic (Bogalusa): (985) 732-6610
      • Denham Springs Behavioral Health Clinic (Denham Springs): (225) 665-0473


  • Imperial Calcasieu Human Services Authority
    1. Serving Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes 
    2. Main Number: (337) 475-8022 or (337) 475-3100
    3. Business Administration Office: (866) 698-5304
    4. After-Hours Number: (800) 272-8367
    5. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations:
      • Lake Charles Clinic (Lake Charles): (337) 475-8022
      • Allen Clinic (Oberlin): (337) 639-3001
      • Beauregard Clinic (DeRidder): (337) 462-1649 or (337) 462-1641
      • Jefferson Davis Clinic (Jennings): (337) 246-7325
      • Sulphur Clinic (Sulphur): (337) 625-6750


  • Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority
    1. Serving Jefferson Parish
    2. Main Number: (504) 838-5257
    3. Behavioral Health Community Services: (504) 846-6901
    4. Behavioral Health Mobile Crisis Line: (504) 832-5123
    5. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations (Integrated Primary and Behavioral Health Care):
      • East Jefferson Health Center (Metairie): (504) 838-5257
      • West Jefferson Health Center (Marrero): (504) 349-8833


  • Metropolitan Human Services District
    1. Serving Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes 
    2. Main Number and Appointment Line: (504) 568-3130
    3. 24-Hour Crisis Line: (504) 826-2675
    4. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations(Use the main number for all locations):
      • Algiers Behavioral Health Center District Office (New Orleans)
      • Chartres-Pontchartrain Behavioral Health Center (New Orleans)
      • Central City Behavioral Health and Access Center (New Orleans)
      • New Orleans East Behavioral Health Center (New Orleans)
      • St. Bernard Behavioral Health Center (Arabi)
      • Plaquemines Community C.A.R.E. Center (Belle Chasse)


  • Northeast Delta Human Services Authority
    1. Serving Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Tensas, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Union, and West Carroll Parishes
    2. Main Number: (318) 362-3270
    3. Mental Health Crisis Hotline: (800) 256-2522 or (318) 362-3339
    4. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations:
      • NEDHSA Monroe Clinic: (318) 362-3339
      • NEDHSA Ruston Clinic: (318) 251-4125
      • NEDHSA Tallulah Clinic: (318) 574-1713
      • NEDHSA Bastrop Clinic: (318) 283-0868
      • NEDHSA Winnsboro Outreach: (318) 649-2333 or (318) 435-2146
      • NEDHSA Columbia Clinic: (318) 649-2333
    5. Primary Care Partners:
      • Primary Health Services Center Administrative Office (Monroe): (318) 388-1250
      • Primary Health Services Center DeSiard Street Clinic (Monroe): (318) 651-9914
      • Primary Health Services Center Behavioral Health Clinic (Monroe: (318) 325-7740
      • Primary Health Services Center S. D. Hill Clinic (Monroe): (318) 651-0041
      • Primary Health Services Center Women and Pediatric Clinic (Monroe): (318) 651-9945
      • Primary Health Services Center Dental Clinic (Monroe): (318) 323-4450
      • Morehouse Community Health Center Administrative Office (Bastrop): (318) 283-8887
      • Tensas Parish Community Health Center Administrative Office (St. Joseph): (318) 766-1967
      • Winnsboro Rural Health Clinic Administrative Office (Winnsboro): (318) 435-4571
      • University Health Conway (Monroe): (318) 330-7000
      • Madison Parish Hospital (Tallulah): (318) 574-2396


  • Northwest Louisiana Human Services District
    1. Serving Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, and Webster Parishes 
    2. Main Number: (318) 676-5111
    3. Behavioral Health Crisis Line: (866) 416-5370
    4. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations:
      • Shreveport Behavioral Health Clinic: (318) 676-5111
      • Natchitoches Behavioral Health Clinic: (318) 357-3122
      • Minden Behavioral Health Clinic: (318) 371-3001


  • South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority
    1. Serving Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, and Terrebonne Parishes
    2. Main Number: (985) 858-2931
    3. Crisis Assist Link Line: (877) 500-9997
    4. Adult Mental Health Outpatient Locations:
      • River Parishes Assessment Center (Laplace): (985) 651-7064
      • River Parishes Behavioral Health Center (Laplace): (985) 652-8444
      • Lafourche Behavioral Health Center (Raceland): (985) 537-6823
      • St. Mary Behavioral Health Center (Morgan City): (985) 380-2460
      • Terrebonne Behavioral Health Center (Houma): (985) 857-3615


Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in Louisiana. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their goal is to deliver high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding-scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. 


How Does Louisiana's Public Mental Health System Work?

In the 1960s, Americans started thinking differently about how to treat mental health conditions. New laws required state and local governments to establish community mental health programs as alternatives to institutionalization for people with serious mental illness. Many states' public mental health programs trace their origins back to this period. 


Louisiana opened community mental health clinics as early as the mid-1950s. After President John F. Kennedy signed the federal Community Mental Health Act in 1963, more clinics opened in Louisiana. In the beginning, they were operated directly by the state Office of Mental Health (now the Office of Behavioral Health). The state started transitioning from a centrally organized system to one operated by Local Governing Entities (LGEs) in the 1980s and 1990s. 


All of Louisiana's public mental health services are now delivered through its ten regional LGEs, also known as human service districts. The LGEs are accountable to local and state government, but they operate independently of them. This means that funding, the types of services available, and eligibility requirements vary from region to region in Louisiana. While LGEs contract with private providers for some services, behavioral health clinics are operated directly by the district. There are currently about 50 district-run behavioral health clinics in Louisiana.


Louisiana's healthcare system was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, especially in the New Orleans area. In the aftermath of Katrina, many clinics and hospitals closed, including public and charity hospitals where many people received most or all of their medical and mental health care. Public mental health facilities also closed, and the system still hasn't fully recovered. As a result, even more inmates with mental illness are being booked into the already overloaded prison system in Louisiana


The state is aware of the issues it faces and is working to correct them. Louisiana continues to rebuild its system, which was previously focused on services provided at hospitals, with a new emphasis on clinic-based care. The state's updated Medicaid system calls itself Healthy Louisiana to reflect "recognition that the Department's goal of improving the health and quality of life of all residents of our state encompasses more than Medicaid [and also includes] increased access to care."


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 38 percent of people in Louisiana who have a mental health condition get treatment for it. One reason for the care gap is that people aren't aware of their options for affordable mental health care, including community mental health clinics. You can help change these statistics by reaching out and using local mental health resources to get the care you need to recover.

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