In New Orleans, despite the overwhelming need, there are just a handful of organizations, outside of counseling in some schools, that provide trauma-focused, evidence-based therapies. These include the nonprofit Children’s Bureau of New Orleans and the state-run Metropolitan Human Services District.
Their efforts, however, are consistently undermined by state budget cuts and a lack of support among local leaders. Nearly a quarter of Metropolitan’s budget has been cut over the past eight years, and yet few people have risen to defend the agency’s mission, said its executive and medical director, Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham.
“Look at the mayoral race. Did you hear anybody talk about mental illness as part of their platforms? Not a single one. And yet, they’re talking about all these (criminal) behaviors. Where do you think these behaviors are coming from?” Head-Dunham said.
Many traumatized children struggling with mental illness self-medicate, primarily with marijuana, to calm their nerves, Kindschy said. This puts them at greater risk for arrest, but for many it’s the only option given the state’s failure to provide mental health care for low-income families, she said.
Read the entire article on NOLA.com – https://projects.nola.com/the-children-of-central-city/treating-trauma/