News For and About CAHS Employees
July 2015
CAHS CONNECTIONS  Story Ideas / Photos
We welcome your story ideas and photos for upcoming newsletters! Items of interest include program news, events or achievements, presentations, births, 25+-year anniversaries, contests, etc. Please email ideas and photos with appropriate identifying information to

In case you missed it ...
Click here to see last month's edition of CAHS Connections
Thanks to new contracts from the East Baton Rouge Parish Council and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, CAHS will be able to help more individuals who are in area prisons.

EBR Parish Prison 
The EBR Parish Council recently approved a $76,000 contract with CAHS to expand its work at the EBR Parish Prison and to improve outcomes for male and female inmates with mental health and/or substance use disorders. The EBR program will begin in July and will continue through December 2015. 

Under the terms of the contract, CAHS Social Worker Toni Dunbar
and CAHS peer specialists will help participants and prison staff with discharge planning before release and will be involved in case management after release.

The efforts emphasize connecting participants to outpatient behavioral health treatment and to the local 12-step recovery community (Narcotics Anonymous & Alcoholics Anonymous).

State Prisons
The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections has contracted with CAHS to help improve outcomes for 75 male and female offenders with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

The program, which began in April and continues through September 2016, is designed to help inmates at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center for Men and the Louisiana Correctional 
Institute for Women, both located at St. Gabriel.

With funding from an $82,494 contract, CAHS is providing two Certified Peer Recovery Specialists, Neal Lorio and Lori Stone, to help participants and prison staff with pre-release discharge planning and post-release case management.

The services are designed to ensure smooth reentry by connecting participants to outpatient treatment, residential programs, training programs, jobs, and the local 12-step recovery community.

Pictured above: ASCEND program staff are (l to r) technicians Christian King, Tiffany Stelly, Amanda Oliveira, Regan Cripps, and ASCEND Director Jim LeVelle, Ph.D., BCBA-D. Not shown are Catherine Lark, LSU doctoral candidate in psychology, and Scott Meche, Ph.D., Director of CAHS Development Disabilities Division.  Pictured below: Tiffany Stelly and Catherine Lark (right) work with a child in the Children's Center.

CAHS' Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) program is now officially open to children ages two to five years old with a diagnosis of autism. Autism is a medical condition that impacts a child’s normal development of the brain and affects talking, thinking and interacting with others in leisure, learning and play activities.  

The new program, called ASCEND (Accelerated Supports for a Child’s Evolving NeuroDevelopment) provides up to six hours per day of comprehensive therapy to children and incorporates the family in its plan of care. ASCEND was designed by the CAHS' Division of Developmental Disabilities to address unmet needs in preschool children who lack access to comprehensive services and programming to achieve the greatest benefits.

“Many children are not identified with a developmental disability until after entering school, yet we know that early intervention, before school age, can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills as well as reduce the need for costly interventions throughout life,” said ASCEND Program Director Jim LeVelle, Ph.D., BCBA-D. 

The ASCEND team consists of professionals that include applied behavioral analysts, speech therapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, social workers, physical therapists, neurologists or developmental neurologists. The program is offered at the CAHS Children’s Center for Behavioral Health, 4615 Government St., Building 1, and operates Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
What's Happening At CAHS

The School Based Therapy Program wants to thank all CAHS employees who responded so generously to our call to donate snacks for the summer camps. We were so thankful to receive the following:
  • 315 bottles of water
  • 214 bags of chips
  • 144 packages of Nutrigrain bars
  • 72 boxes of Animal Crackers
  • 40 boxes of cookies
  • 36 bags of Goldfish snacks
CAHS's summer camps are off to a fun and productive start with about 100 children participating so far. The camps are staffed by social workers from CAHS' School Based Therapy Program and provide eight weeks of summer enrichment programs on 16 school campuses in seven parishes for more than 170 school aged children with behavioral disorders. See the list of schools.

CAHS therapists enjoy the interactions with the children and their families, as the program uses Adventure Based Counseling (ABC) techniques that include experiential learning, outdoor education, and group counseling. ABC aims to improve the self-concept of participants by enhancing trust in others and confidence in self. Children at the camps participate in a wide range of activities focused on building trust, problem-solving, improving coping skills and social skills, and promoting more effective communication.


CAHS continues its campaign against the use of deadly synthetic marijuana, aka "MoJo" and "Spice." To raise awareness during holiday celebrations, CAHS sponsored 57 radio commercials between June 29 and July 6 on the popular WEMX MAX 94.1. The radio station also featured a June 30 interview by on-air personality A.J. Boogie with CAHS Certified Peer Tonja Myles. Listen to the inverview here.
Special Report At CAHS
Pictured above: Members of the Clinical Design Committee, chaired by CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, Ph.D., gathered June 18 at CAHS to discuss the needs for a behavioral health crisis continuum. Experts shown (l-r) are Treva Parolli-Barnes, Chief of Operations, East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office; William "Beau" Clark, MD, EBR Parish Coroner; Aniedi Udofa, MD, CAHS Medical Director and Deputy Coroner; Scott Meche, Ph.D., CAHS Director of Developmental Disabilities Services; Raman Singh, MD, Medical and Mental Health Director, Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Darryl Honore', Sergeant and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) liaison, Baton Rouge Police Department.

Two years ago, before the closure of Eark K. Long charity hospital and its Mental Health Emergency Room Extension (MHERE), the Baton Rouge region had a place that could appropriately help persons who were experiencing mental health crises.

"In just two years of operation, the MHERE served 3,400 patients with needed therapies, medications and counseling with none of those patients discharged to jail. Of those patients treated at the MHERE, 50% were brought by law enforcement, 40% were self directed, and 10% were referred by other sources," explained CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, Ph.D.

But, those closures in 2013 changed everything. Today, persons in crisis are too often taken to jail, as law enforcement officers have few or no alternatives for crisis intervention, according to local and state experts who spoke at a June 18 meeting of the Behavioral Health Services Collaborative at CAHS on Government St.  

Baton Rouge Police Sergeant Darryl Honore' said mental health calls are tying up police for hours unnecessarily at jails and emergency rooms, taking police away from serious crimes and issues. 

Raman Singh, MD, Medical and Mental Health Director for the Louisiana Department of Corrections, said jails and prisons are not equipped to treat persons for mental illness. He said about half of Louisiana's inmates have serious mental health issues.

"We have locked up too many people whose only 'crime' is mental illness," said Dr. Singh.

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William "Beau" Clark, MD, reported that his office has seen a sharp increase in both Orders of Protective Custody (OPCs) and Coroner's Emergency Certificates (CECs). He said OPCs are on track to reach 1,000 for 2015, up from 612 in 2012, while CECs have jumped from 4,362 in 2012 to a projected 7,000 this year. Dr. Clark noted that mental health services are more effective when provided to patients earlier, resulting in shorter inpatient stays and lower costs to taxpayers.  

"Our goal is that people with mental illness never see the inside of a jail or prison -- instead that they receive the help they need in an appropriate setting," said CAHS Certified Peer Tonja Myles, who has been working inside area prisons to help inmates prepare for life outside of jail (see related stories above in this newsletter).

The experts aren't just talking about the problem -- they're doing something about it.  In recent months, the committee has studied how East Baton Rouge Parish might re-establish appropriate facilities and approaches to treat and avoid further behavioral health crises.

On May 11, the committee released its proposal (see here
) outlined by Dr. Kasofsky. The proposal calls for a 24/7 call center to help persons in crisis, Crisis Mobile Teams for children and adults, CIT-trained law enforcement teams with a licensed mental health practitioner, and a Recovery and Empowerment Center (REC) that would offer an array of needed services, including: 

    •    Triage and assessment
    •    Medical triage
    •    Peer-run respite drop-in
    •    Sobering, medical detox and medical stabilization
    •    Care liaisons and other post-treatment follow up

In a separate analysis issued May 19, BRAF reported that comprehensive crisis services could save East Baton Rouge Parish more than $55 million over 10 years and could produce annual savings of about $3 million. See BRAF's cost-savings analysis here.

CAHS employees are encouraged to join the national "Stepping Up" initiative to raise awareness about practices and strategies that work in communities to keep persons with mental illness out of jails. The initiative is led by the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Foundation. Dr. Kasofsky noted that CAHS is in the process of implementing the strategies promoted by "Stepping Up."  Learn more and join here.

Pictured above:  At the request of CAHS, the East Baton Rouge Parish Council adopted a resolution at its June 24 meeting in support of "Stepping Up," a national initiative to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in jails. Shown (left to right) are CAHS Executive Director Jan Kasofsky, Ph.D., and CAHS Certified Peer Tonja Myles with Council members C. Denise Marcelle, Donna Collins-Lewis, and Tara Wicker.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a diagnosis that is given to people when the following factors are present:
1) The person has experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury, or the threat to the physical integrity of the person or others 

2) The person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror 

3) The person is having various symptoms that are causing impairment, such as nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, avoidance, etc.

As of 2014, there are about 1000 veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan war era diagnosed with PTSD each week. The lives of many other people are seriously impacted by traumas experienced during disasters, unexpected losses of a loved ones, child abuse, or exposures in high risk occupations such as emergency responders. Evidence-based treatment interventions effectively address PTSD symptoms and improve quality of life.


"Lunch 'n Learns," July 21, @ three locations
CAHS Clinical Director Stephen Aguillard, LCSW, will conduct a "Lunch 'n Learn" about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder on July 21 from 12 to 1 p.m. at the CAHS main campus on Government St.  At the same time, similar "Lunch 'n Learns" will be held at MDMHC, conducted by clinic manager Cary Bahlinger, and at GMHC, conducted by clinic manager Ryan Rife. Employees, clients and family members at those CAHS locations are invited to attend. The sessions will cover topics of early intervention.

Youth PTSD Treatment workshop, Oct. 9
Bryan Gros, Ph.D., will conduct a Youth PTSD Treatment workshop Oct. 9 for Children’s Clinical Services staff.  Youth PTSD Treatment (YPT) is an effective protocol for treatment of children and adolescents. This model shares many similarities with Trauma-Focused CBT, which many people may be familiar with, but differs in how anxiety management, exposure work, inclusion of parents, and very young children are approached.

As we noted last month, grant funding for CAHS’ Total Health Program (THP) stops at the end of August, but most services, including peer support, nutrition education, fitness activities, tobacco cessation and care coordination with primary care providers, will continue to be offered in CAHS’ facilities and programs.  

Most of these services will be provided by CAHS’ permanent staff of doctors, nurses, clinicians, peer support, and administrative staff with help from our collaborative partners. 
CAHS supports primary and behavioral health integration and has as its vision for Total Health a routine provision of resources and tools to help people live healthier lives with assistance for coordinating care to meet their needs.
Who's Who at CAHS

Who joined CAHS recently? Click here to see!

Rayna Colleen Bailey

Congratulations to Ryan and Jahanna Bailey,School Based Therapy Program Supervisor, on the birth of Rayna Colleen Bailey, May 6.  Big sisters, Ryleigh and Reagan, are very excited!

Welcome, Dr. Andrew Calhoun

CAHS welcomes Dr. Andrew Calhoun, a psychiatrist with 28 years of experience who is now working at the Center for Adult Behavioral Health (CABH) and Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center (MDMHC). Dr. Calhoun has practiced psychiatry since 1987 and comes to CAHS from New Orleans where he worked for 11 years at the Metropolitan Human Services District.  Dr. Calhoun served his residency at Tulane after earning his medical degree from LSU and his undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech University. In addition to our welcome to CAHS, we extend best wishes to Dr. Calhoun and Dr. Suzanne Woodard of Baton Rouge on their recent marriage.
Welcome, LSU Residents!
Dr. Lochlann McGee, 2nd year Psychiatry Resident
Two-month rotation at CARP

Dr. Duy Tran, 4th year Psychiatry Resident
Every Friday at CABH through November

Dr. Chenen Hsieh, 4th year Psychiatry Resident
Friday mornings at MDMHC through November
We Would Like to Hear From You!
CAHS Connections is your newsletter, about and for the employees and activities of Capital Area Human Services. The employees listed here serve on the newsletter's Editorial Board and would like to hear from you. Just click on their names to send an email with your story ideas: Karen Bray, Rafael Maza, Lynetta Butler, Richard Brown, Jr., Michael Brown, Carol Everhart, Linda Melancon, Betty Mims, Shenitha Smith, and Gabrielle Brown.
Our Mission
To facilitate person-centered recovery by empowering people of all ages with behavioral health needs and developmental disability challenges to strengthen relationships, establish independence, and enhance their ability to improve their physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Our Vision
Our network provides local access to best practices that respond to the unique needs of individuals living in the District's communities.

Copyright © 2015 CAHS/Capital Area Human Services, All rights reserved.

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