Charlotte Claiborne.jpg

Charlotte Claiborne executive director of the The Bridge Center for Hope

The Bridge Center for Hope, a psychiatric crisis and detox facility set to open early next year, has selected Charlotte Claiborne as its executive director.

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council earlier this year chose the nonprofit Bridge Center, which was  set up by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, to open a behavioral health crisis center. It is funded from a 1.5-mill property tax voters approved in December that is projected to raise $6 million annually.

The 30-bed center, set to open in early 2020, is expected to serve up to 5,000 people in crisis annually and will serve as an alternative to an emergency room or the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. It has garnered support from the district attorney, police chief and coroner, all of whom sit on the Bridge Center board, as does the sheriff's jail warden.

Claiborne, who was most recently director of Louisiana Behavioral Health Agency, spent 17 years working for Entergy, where she managed several multimillion-dollar contracts and served as a budget analyst and manager on several projects.

“We picked Charlotte because her mix of business and health care skills fit our need to not only start a new service, but to make sure it grows and matches the needs of people with mental illness and substance abuse challenges," said Kathy Kliebert, chair of the Bridge Center, in a news release Tuesday.

Claiborne, who was not available for an interview on Tuesday, said in a prepared statement that she hopes the facility will address the gap in behavioral health and substance abuse services and contribute to reducing the stigma of mental illness in the parish.

"With the facility, we’ll help thousands of our neighbors who have nowhere else to turn when they are suffering in a crisis," Claiborne said.

Claiborne will work alongside Recover International, an international company specializing in mental health and substance abuse services that the Bridge Center’s board of directors picked in August to operate the new facility.

The board lauded the company on its commitment to a “Crisis Now” model of treatment, which varies from the more traditional model of medicating patients in a hospital-like setting.

The Crisis Now model builds its treatment on a number of guidelines: viewing patients' crises as opportunities for growth, using peer support specialists to counsel patients, tailoring treatment based on the type of trauma the patient is suffering, adopting suicide prevision as a core responsibility, and implementing crisis response partnerships with law enforcement.

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