The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, or LDH, has received $2.7million to help the Louisiana Spirit Hurricane Recovery program to continue crisis counseling services after Hurricane Gustav.

Louisiana Spirit, a LDH crisis counseling and stress management program managed by the Office of Mental Health, received a total of $2,782,373 to provide services in the 53 parishes declared disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant was awarded by FEMA and the Center for Mental Health Services, a section of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAHMSA, and further strengthens DHH’s emphasis on bolstering mental and behavioral health services.

The money will cover the cost for the two months immediately following Gustav. Louisiana Spirit has also applied for an additional grant to cover services provided since the storm. This grant is expected to be awarded in January 2009.

Louisiana Spirit, which was created after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, offers counseling services statewide. Through its providers, the federally funded, state-operated program has made over two million crisis counseling contacts with Louisiana residents. In addition to individual counseling, Louisiana Spirit offers group counseling, first responder counseling, and specialized counseling for anyone affected by the hurricanes.

For more information, contact Pierre Washington, public information officer, at (225) 219-5031 or (225) 219-5000.