Louisiana workers are reporting their stress levels are higher than ever as they face many personal and work-related challenges in the struggle to rebuild their lives and the devastated areas around them.  Stress takes an emotional and physical toll on all individuals, and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits. 

But employers can help their workers manage stress with services offered through Louisiana Spirit, a program operated by the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Mental Health.  Louisiana Spirit offers free and confidential stress management services for employees of public, private and non-profit agencies throughout the state.  These services will help raise worker productivity as well as benefit the overall mental health of Louisiana employees by helping them cope with their stress. 

In just the past nine months, Louisiana Spirit has conducted 925 group sessions across the state with the focus of stress management.

“Stress is a major cause of absenteeism in the workplace and contributes to on-the-job accidents and injuries,” explained Charles G. Cook, Executive Director of Louisiana Spirit. “These numbers have been especially high in Louisiana since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Employees are incurring more stress in rebuilding and recovery efforts. Stress management services for employees can make a big difference.”

Louisiana Spirit, which was created in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, offers hurricane recovery counseling services statewide. Through its providers, the federally funded, state-operated program has made almost 2 million counseling contacts with Louisiana residents. In addition to individual counseling, Louisiana Spirit offers group counseling for first responders and specialized counseling for anyone affected by the hurricanes.

For more information about stress management services, employers can contact Debbie Ursin, Stress Management Coordinator, at (225) 219-5037.  More information about Louisiana Spirit can be found on its Web site, www.louisianaspirit.org.