hildren and adolescents in New Orleans will soon have more readily available access to mental health services with the unveiling of a mobile mental health clinic by the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital (NOAH).

The unit, called NOAH’s ARC (a resource center), will travel throughout Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes to provide evaluation and treatment services to seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents.  It will be available to provide its services among schools, pediatric clinics and other community sites as needed.

The ARC will be staffed by clinical professionals from NOAH, including child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers and trainees.

The ARC will be unveiled on Wednesday, June 11 at 2 p.m at the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital, 210 State St., New Orleans, La.  The media are invited to attend and a tour of the ARC will be provided. 

Speakers at this event will include Jo Pine, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Hospitals, NOAH CEO Richard Kramer and NOAH Clinical Director Dr. Martin Drell.

NOAH, which operates under DHH’s Office of Mental Health, was the first public mental health inpatient facility to re-open after Katrina within New Orleans and remains at the forefront of providing these vital services to a population in great need.  Since Katrina, the youth-oriented hospital has been treating adults as well as children and adolescents to accommodate the demand for services in the city.

“NOAH has been a leader in public service through their dedication to serve and their imaginative foresight.  The ARC is an addition to be proud of,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine.  “There’s still much more work needed to bring the mental health system in New Orleans back to pre-Katrina levels, and NOAH and the Department of Health remain committed to that effort.”

NOAH’s Friends, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf on NOAH, was the fiscal agent for the ARC which is now owned and operated by the hospital.  The ARC was funded by a $50,000 grant from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Access Initiative, a $40,000 grant from the AmeriCares Foundation and a $50,000 grant from the Institute of Mental Hygiene.  The state Office of Mental Health also contributed to this project.

The idea for the ARC was realized after Katrina, when NOAH’s child and adolescent beds were cut in half and there were many areas that had no longer had mental health services, but many more children were in need.  Today, NOAH treats children and adolescents through its network of services that includes 15 inpatient beds, three clinics, a crisis intervention service and outreach teams.  The hospital also has 29 inpatient beds for adults, with an additional 11 pending.