Louisiana Spirit, a crisis counseling program for hurricane recovery operated through the Department of Health – Office of Mental Health, was recently honored by the 2007 Telly Awards for the production of a first responders’ video called “Brothers Keeper.”  The video won the Telly Award in the Film/Video category for Non-Broadcast Productions for Health and Wellness.

The Telly Awards, which began in 1978, honor the best in local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, as well as film production.

The Louisiana Spirit entry focused on mental health counseling for first responders in the wake of a disaster, as well as methods to help first responder units care for each other.  First responders include firefighters, law enforcement officers, military personnel and members of the medical community.

The entry was submitted by Louisiana Spirit and Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), who also collaborated for the production of this video.  LPB received additional footage for the film from WWL-TV in New Orleans when, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, WWL temporarily moved their operations to the LPB office in Baton Rouge.

“We are proud to receive such a high honor for our first responders’ video through the efforts of our staff and the staff at LPB,” said Charles G. Cook, Executive Director for Louisiana Spirit.  “We hope that all first responder units can view this video and use it as a tool to help them learn to take care of each other and to seek help when they need it.”

Louisiana Spirit is a free counseling service that was formed in response to Louisiana residents facing post-hurricane stress issues.  The federally funded program aids hurricane victims in overcoming the emotional and mental anguish experienced by disaster survivors.

For more information about Louisiana Spirit, contact Pierre Washington, Public Information Officer, at (225) 219-5031 or (225) 803-4592, or visit its Web site at www.louisianaspirit.org.