LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Center for Evidence to Practice Reducing Mental Health Crisis Burden on 1st Responders

February 22, 2023

emergency lights

By training behavioral health crisis response teams, the Center for Evidence to Practice is reducing the burden on police and emergency departments to care for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse crises. The Center is a collaboration between the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health’s Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program and the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health.

“Last year, we added a focus on workforce development for Louisiana’s launch of its behavioral health crisis response teams,” notes Stephen W. Phillippi, Jr., PhD, LCSW, CCFC, Chair of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health and Founding Director of the Center for Evidence to Practice. “These efforts are critical for the citizens of Louisiana. We are ranked 20th for suicide and 7th highest for drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Creating and sustaining a crisis response system that is person-centered and resolution-focused so that the burden of care on emergency departments and law enforcement is reduced will help people receive the care they need.”

The additional resources, expertise and capacity at the Center for Evidence to Practice place Louisiana in a national movement to improve responses to mental health and substance abuse emergencies.

Over the past year, the Center collaborated with nine national and state experts to create content, train its seven Center trainers and network with more than 25 peer specialists participating in training delivery. It has produced a modular curriculum and an online platform that includes 7 modules that can be taken any time, 9 live modules, and 12-hour skills demonstration sessions. The Center delivered the Mental Health Crisis Workforce Training curriculum to 11 groups reaching more than 500 individuals from seven provider agencies and five managed care organization call centers. This included leadership, clinical supervisors, medical directors, licensed mental health professionals, registered nurses, peer support specialists, and others.

The Center partnered with the Louisiana Peer Action Advocacy Coalition to produce a series of video interviews with individuals with lived experiences as a part of the training content resources. They are part of the Center’s training team and on the first responder teams working with people needing their unique level of understanding and skill.

The Center implemented monthly coaching/consultation sessions to reinforce training and problem-solve issues with provider teams. It also collected and analyzed training and implementation data for ongoing reporting.

“I’m proud of the work of our faculty, staff, and students with the Center for Evidence to Practice,” Phillippi adds. “Being part of this crucial moment in improving Louisiana’s health care is one more way our School of Public Health is collaborating to bring critical hope to the communities of our state.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSU Health New Orleans) educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous annual economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment or cure disease. To learn more, visit,, or

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