Circle of Support Walk Moved from Parade Grounds to Traumatic Loss Center

Due to the inclement weather, the Circle of Support 8th Annual Walk planned for April 14th will be moved from the LSU Parade Grounds to the Traumatic Loss Center at 3013 Old Forge.

Please plan to arrive at 8:30. There will be light a breakfast, activities for the children, a brief program including a word from Frank Campbell and conclude with the balloon release, weather permitting.

Please help us spread the word by sharing this post! Thank you and looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

Registration Site for Circle of Support Walk Soon to Come

We hope that everyone is getting excited about our upcoming annual Circle of Support Walk in April! We are currently in the process of setting up the registration site. Please keep an eye out for updates so that you can register yourself and your teams as soon as it is ready!

We thank everyone for their continued support of CIC and look forward to seeing you there!

Shop for a Cause: Kendra Scott Give Back Night on March 11


Ascension Parish teen shares story of suicide attempt ahead of new documentary

By Cheryl Mercedes, Anchor 

Emma Benoit today (Source: WAFB)
ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) –An Ascension Parish teen who lived to talk about her suicide attempt is sharing her story with the world. Emma Benoit has become part of a discussion that is being built around a new documentary that aims to raise awareness and prevention.

“I remember I pointed the gun far out from my body and I just pulled the trigger,” Benoit said.

Benoit is no actor. Her story is real. The 17-year-old is sharing with the world what she says was the darkest day of her life. It was June 7, 2017 when everything she had been keeping bottled up boiled over.

“I thought there was no other way out, because in my mind, no one would understand,” Benoit said.

Benoit says that’s because her life appeared perfect on the surface. Benoit was a cheerleader at Dutchtown High School, a model, and had solid family and friends, but she says depression and anxiety had taken over. She was dying inside.

“I thought that if people knew the real story, they wouldn’t see me the same,” Benoit said.

Benoit can no longer cheer or dance. She is hardly the same girl since the incident. Benoit needs a walker to get around and goes to therapy around 25 hours per week. These days, most of her energy is spent online connecting with people through her blog. She is helping others find faith on

Benoit has also been tapped for a new role on an expert panel set to discuss the details of a new documentary called “Suicide: The Ripple Effect.” The film features Kevin Hines, the man who survived jumping form The Golden Gate Bridge. Co-producer and co-director, Greg Dicharry, says it also shares the stories of the first responders who saved Hines’ life and how his family dealt with the aftermath.

Read the rest of the story here at 


The screening starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 23 at the AMC Theatre – Mall of Louisiana. There is a limited amount of complimentary tickets available for students or non-profit organizations. To purchase tickets online, click here. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center.

For more details, email

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.

Circle of Support Walk

Save the date for CIC’s 8th annual Circle of Support Walk: Saturday, April 14, 2018

Registration details to come!



Suicide the Ripple Effect World Premier Screening on February 23

Join us  for the world premier screening of  Kevin Hines’ and Baton Rouge native Greg Dicharry’s inspirational documentary, Suicide, the Ripple Effect. Kevin Hines, who attempted to take his own life by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge and survived, shares his story in an effort to spread awareness and inspire hope.

The film will be released worldwide on March 13 by Gathr Films Theatrical on Demand, but Baton Rouge is getting an exclusive first viewing at AMC Theatres at the Mall of Louisiana on Friday, February 23 from 6-9 p.m. The screening will be followed with a discussion led by Kevin himself,  along with other suicide prevention experts, on how to enhance suicide prevention efforts in Baton Rouge.

Speakers include:

Greg Dicharry- SmileStyle Entertainment, Co-Director and Co-producer of the film; Greg is a person in recovery who has led a national youth program for over 10 years.

Dr. Raymond Tucker- Board of Directors, American Association of Suicidology (AAS) Professor, Clinical Psychology Louisiana State University

Tonja Myles- Set Free, US Veteran, Radio Host, Ordained Minister and Suicide Attempt Survivor

Emma Benoit- Life Rejuvenated, High School Student, Suicide Attempt Survivor

The event is supported by: Baton Rouge Parents Magazine, Louisiana Film Society, Gordon Mckernan Injury Attorneys, Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center, LSU, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office, Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs, NAMI Baton Rouge, NAMI St. Tammany, and more.

A portion of the proceeds for this event will go to support suicide prevention efforts here at the Baton Rouge Crisis Center. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

To learn about how to obtain complimentary tickets for students or non profit organizations, or to become an event sponsor, contact

Have You Lost Someone to Suicide? Join Us for Our Weekly SOS Group

The pain was so horrendous. I didn’t know anybody could be in that pain and live.

Every day you struggle to get out of bed and wonder, how am I going to live, hurting like this, for 5 years? 10? 50? And then in the group someone says, ‘You’re not going to have to. ‘

And one day the fog will lift. You realize that you can have tears today without pain.

And it did. “

Here at the Crisis Intervention Center, through our Traumatic Loss Services, we offer a special resource for those directly affected by suicide. This unique grief requires a special kind of support system that is oftentimes difficult to find. The psychological and emotional trauma experienced by survivors of suicide is different from any other trauma. Our founders at CIC believed that there is no better system of support for these people than from those who have experienced the same pain. The group is totally peer-facilitated by individuals who have lost their loved ones, their neighbors, their family members, and their friends to suicide and is also overseen by clinical staff who have experience in dealing with mental health and grief.

Our weekly support group is the only ongoing resource for survivors in this area. It is also unique in that it is free. We believe that everyone who requires this support should be able to receive it without the added concerns of financial barriers. All of the people of our community deserve the chance to heal after devastation, and our group has made that its mission for decades.

It’s a very sacred place. It’s very safe. I’ve said things there about how I’ve felt that I’ve never told anybody in the outside world. Because you feel safe. These are strangers. You don’t hang out or talk everyday. But they understand and there’s no judgment. And that’s what you need. You learn things that others have done that you can take away and use for the other six days in the outside.

To learn about how to join our Survivors of Suicide Support Group, please call (225) 924-1431.

Even if you have been suffering for a long time, please join us. There is no time limit on pain. 

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The work we do here at CIC is centered around caring for the emotional and psychological needs of our Louisiana community. Our organization has been built upon suicide prevention from the start, when in 1970 , a group of students at Louisiana State University saw a need and took initiative.

To learn more about how The Phone got its start, click here.

Each year, more than 41,000 people in America die by suicide. Suicide affects everyone. It can happen to anyone. The biggest weapons that we as the general public wield against suicide are awareness and conversation. It is so important that people know the signs and the ways in which to give support to someone suffering from suicidal thoughts. Even more than that, ending the stigma and bringing these issues out into the open can give someone the courage to reach out for help.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and we at CIC are stepping up to share stories, information, and to continue to provide resources for the Louisiana community.

How can you participate in Suicide Prevention Awareness?


You can start by sharing information about The Phone with those you love, those you interact with, and everyone you can reach. Let them know that we at the Crisis Intervention Center are here to provide support 24/7.


You can educate yourself. The National Alliance on Mental Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provide access to valuable information and resources such as information on:


Lastly, you can spread awareness through having conversations about suicide with those around you, and by using the power of social media to bring that conversation to as many people as possible.

Bridge to Healing For Educators : Disaster Based Trauma Workshop

The issue of mental health in youth is a major public health concern, and schools are a prime setting for crisis intervention to take place. Especially following widespread trauma such as disasters, in which mass students require support,it is vital that mental health personnel be able to respond to these needs.

The recent traumatic events experienced by the Baton Rouge community and surrounding areas have created a more intense need for this support. Though most students are resilient after trauma exposure, those that do struggle are at risk for long term effects in their mental health.

When disaster strikes, mental health professionals in schools are responsible for seeing to the needs of students, staff, and families. Oftentimes these professionals are experiencing very similar trauma to the people they care for.

This training focuses on educating professionals in how to respond to disaster based trauma and how to develop personal coping mechanisms of their own.

Attendees will learn:

  • Identification of students needing support
  • Appropriate responses to offer to students, staff and parents who have experienced a traumatic event.
  • Community resources so those affected can move through the aftermath of a traumatic event and still function capably in the school setting.
  • Sample communication between school and families

This training will be held on September 19  at a location provided upon registration. It will serve all mental health personnel in schools in the following parishes: Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.

We do have limited space and applicants registered on a first, come first served basis! To apply, Click Here!


THE ADVOCATE: Experts Weigh in On Baton Rouge Mental Health Crisis Following the Great Flood

Stretched funding, 2016 flood memories make perfect storm for mental health crisis, experts say

As Louisianians continue to cope with the fallout from last year’s devastating flooding, mental health professionals say they worry about their ability to provide adequate care in a state where resources were already stretched.

Adding to their frustration, the federal government has yanked funding for a state health department program that provided counseling and other services to flood survivors. The program, Louisiana Spirit, officially shut down Friday, said program coordinator Nicole Coarsey.

Yet while there is now one fewer resource available to those in need, experts predict that the demand for mental health type services will continue to rise in the next year now that people are transitioning away from short-term survival mode and adjusting to the new normal.

“We haven’t seen the spike. We haven’t seen the epicenter,” said Aaron Blackledge, executive director of the local non-profit Crisis Intervention Center.

He says there’s a huge demand for services looming.

“Unfortunately, organizations like ours don’t have the resources to help,” Blackledge said. “I haven’t seen anything like it since Katrina. It’s a tragedy.”

Already, one hospital is reporting a rise in psychiatric admissions.

Dr. Kenny Cole with Baton Rouge General Medical Center said 1,498 people checked into that hospital’s emergency room between August 13 of 2016 and August 13 of this year with a primary complaint that was mental health related — a 14 percent increase over the previous year.

“I think the number is probably much bigger than that,” Cole said.

The reason, he said, is that in some people come in complaining of physical symptoms like insomnia or chest pain when the underlying problem might actually be depression or anxiety.

Although there’s ample evidence that links conditions like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder both to environmental stressors and genetic factors, there’s still a persistent and “arbitrary” stigma against people struggling with mental illness, Cole continued.

And stress also suppresses a body’s immune system, the doctor said. For example, Baton Rouge General surveyed its staff and found that about 37 percent of those who had flooded reported an increased need for prescription medication since the storm.

Physical and mental health “are very much intertwined. They very much affect each other. … It’s really just health,” Cole said.

Theoretically, anyone can eventually reach a point at which they begin to have difficulty coping with trauma and stress. People just reach the threshold at different times explained local psychologist Donald Hoppe.

Anxiety and depression can occur when the body’s self-preservation instincts react out of proportion to stress, he said.

Richard Bryant of the University of New South Wales, an expert on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, said one way to understand PTSD is to think of a mouse in a cage with a light.

If a researcher turns on the light and shocks the mouse, then eventually it will come to fear the light and exhibit symptoms like an increased heart rate and release of stress hormones when the light is switched on. If the researcher continually turns on the light without shocking the mouse, a healthy animal will come to lose its fear, but some will continue to have a fearful reaction, Bryant wrote in a presentation to the Dart Center, a Columbia University agency that provides information on trauma to journalists.

Human psychology is more complex, Hoppe said, and some of it is biological. Violence, strong or weak relationships and other factors during a child’s development can also play a role, he said.

His clients are particularly concerned about the effect the flood has had on their children. He said he’s heard a lot of worry about kids who are now fearful of thunder storms.

At Our Lady of the Lake, the number of adult psychiatric admissions actually went down slightly last fiscal year, said behavioral and mental health executive director Denise Dugas. However, the intake of adolescents — those between 12 and 17 years old — went up from 341 to 548.

While the Lake can provide acute care for a few days to help a patient in crisis or who needs to detoxify, “there’s a lack of the continuum of care that’s needed in this community.”

To read more, click here.