The You Aren’t Alone Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to forming a network of ongoing support for mental health and wellness in Baton Rouge and surrounding communities so that no one ever has to feel alone. The project exists to encourage understanding, erase stigmas, and to invest in building the right relationships that will continue moving this initiative forward.
Our vision is to be the platform that paves the way for mental and behavioral health in Louisiana to be treated and talked about in the same way as physical health.
Community | Compassion | Conversation | Collaboration
Building a supportive community is essential.
In teaching compassion through understanding.
In being bold in our conversations about mental health.
And in the power and strength of collaboration.
We can’t do any of this alone, and we absolutely shouldn’t have to.
Louisiana has a population of approximately 4.7 million people. Close to 3.6% of adults in Louisiana (according to SAMHSA) live with serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression--that’s 39,000 Individuals with schizophrenia and 79,000 living with severe bipolar disorder (in 2017).
According to a study done in 2017 by HHS.gov, 32 percent of high school students reported they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row and that they stopped doing some usual activities. Eighteen percent of those students also reported they seriously considered attempting suicide.
Only 38.2% of adults with mental illness in Louisiana receive any form of treatment from either the public system or private providers (according to SAMHSA). The remaining 61.8% receive no mental health treatment. A 2015 Mental Health America report ranks Louisiana 47th for overall mental health care, meaning the state has a high prevalence of mental illness and scarce access to care.
And those are only cases where mental health disorders were reported and/or individuals sought treatment. According to the National Network of Depression Centers, one in five Americans will be impacted by mental illness during their lifetime, and depression is the leading cause of disability in the US. Eighty percent of those treated for depression start showing results within 4-6 weeks however, two thirds of people with depressive symptoms never seek treatment. We lose about as many people to suicide each year as we do to breast cancer yet mental health receives only 1/100th of the funding that breast cancer does.
Here in Baton Rouge, resources are slim. While there are multiple behavioral health clinics, access is still an issue. The closest organization in Baton Rouge to the You Aren’t Alone Project is NAMI Louisiana, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization made up of family members, peers, behavioral health professionals, and friends with the purpose of supporting and advocating at the local, state, and national levels the promotion of the quality of care, rights and interests of those affected by mental illness. The You Aren’t Alone Project will strive to partner with organizations like NAMI to further our adjoining missions.