About Louisiana Spirit 


The Louisiana Spirit Crisis Counseling Program (commonly referred to as "Louisiana Spirit") ended its disaster response operations for the August 2016 Severe Weather and Flooding disaster on August 25, 2017.  Louisiana Spirit is often reactivated immediately following a presidential declaration that includes the provision of individual assistance through the Crisis Counseling Program (CCP), which is based on short-term behavioral health interventions to promote resilience, empowerment, and recovery. The program was funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administrated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). The program was operated under the auspice of the Louisiana State Department of Health, Office of Behavioral Health (LDH/OBH).

Historically, Louisiana Spirit has provided assistance to individuals and families affected by Hurricane Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac. The program had a pivotal role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Most recently, Louisiana Spirit assisted in the disaster response efforts for the Tornadoes and Storms that struck Livingston and Orleans parishes in February 2017, The Great Flood of August 2016, and the March 2016 Severe Weather and Flood Event. These disasters have had a major impact on the emotional, physical and mental health of our citizens.

Louisiana Spirit provided adult and child needs assessment and referral to additional disaster relief services or mental health or substance abuse treatment, counseling goals were to assist disaster survivors in understanding their disaster-related situation and reactions, mitigate stress, review their disaster recovery options, and provide general support/information on resources and services available. The program encouraged linkage with other individuals and agencies that may assisted them in their recovery process while they strived to return to their pre-disaster level of functioning.

Louisiana Spirit employed a diverse workforce of social service providers, first responders, clinicians and ordinary people or survivors, particularly those indigenous and knowledgeable about the local impacted communities. Employees were under the direct supervision of the various human services districts and authorities offering services within their respective disaster impacted communities.

Louisiana Spirit's providers in collaboration with the LDH/OBH offered disaster mental health interventions, which included outreach crisis counseling and education to disaster survivors, their families, staff of local governments, rescuers, disaster first responders, business owners, religious communities and other special populations. Free stress management services were available for employees of public, private and non-profit entities statewide.

Louisiana Spirit has become an important model for response to a variety of catastrophic events. It symbolizes Louisianans' recovery and the process of moving forward in their lives from a health-based perspective.


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