canada africa partner reservation Health Secretary Ralph Abraham says Bossier 988 Lifeline Center saves lives every day

Health Secretary Ralph Abraham says Bossier 988 Lifeline Center saves lives every day

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Louisiana Health Secretary Ralph Abraham made a special visit to northwest Louisiana on Monday to tour the 988 Lifeline Center in Bossier City.

Abraham’s visit recognized major milestones achieved in mental health care in Louisiana.

“It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, but we all know that every day should be Mental Health Awareness Month,” Abraham said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in five American adults live with a mental illness and more than one in five young people (ages 13-18) have a debilitating mental illness.

The Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling is home to the 988 Lifeline Center, which serves all of North Louisiana. Louisiana has two certified lifeline centers, LACG and ViaLink, located in southern Louisiana.

LACG Executive Director Don Pledger shows Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington and LDH Secretary Dr.  Ralph Abraham around the 988 Lifeline Services building.LACG Executive Director Don Pledger shows Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington and LDH Secretary Dr.  Ralph Abraham around the 988 Lifeline Services building.

LACG Executive Director Don Pledger shows Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington and LDH Secretary Dr. Ralph Abraham around the 988 Lifeline Services building.

988 lifeline offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to people in a suicidal crisis or in psychological distress.

“The people who answer these phones are heroes on the front lines because they save lives every day,” said Abraham, a doctor.

988 lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people experiencing suicidal crisis or mental distress via phone, chat or text message.

Elizabeth Bryant is a 988 trained crisis specialist.

“We want everyone in the state of Louisiana to know that if they are going through something, they can call 988 and someone will answer, they will actively listen to them and they will do everything they can. that they can to get them connected to all the resources that are available to them,” Bryant said.

Elizabeth Byrant and John Jackson, 988 trained crisis specialist.Elizabeth Byrant and John Jackson, 988 trained crisis specialist.

Elizabeth Byrant and John Jackson, 988 trained crisis specialist.

“The empathy is there, the compassion is there and even more than that, we build on that with research and knowledge on how to be professional,” said Don Pledger, executive director of LACG.

For more information about LACG 988 Lifeline, visit www.helpforgambling.org.

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Makenzie Boucher is a reporter at the Shreveport Times. Contact her at [email protected].

This article originally appeared in Shreveport Times: This Northern Louisiana Mental Health Call Center Saves Lives Every Day