New Orleanians have equitable access to a robust, well-coordinated mental health system of high-quality care.
Between major natural disasters, economic insecurity, pervasive community violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that the mental health crisis in New Orleans has only worsened in recent years.
Our city’s expert mental health providers have worked tirelessly to support as many residents as possible and improve outcomes. The New Orleans Community Health Improvement Plan, New Orleans Youth Master Plan, and other research outline needs and strategies to improve behavioral health outcomes citywide.
The Mental Health Collaborative (MCH), founded in 2023, is a group of healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses committed to addressing the mental and behavioral health crisis for children, youth, and adults in New Orleans. United Way of Southeast Louisiana is the backbone of the collaborative, helping to guide partners, source funding, develop shared goals and strategies, and drive policy change.
MHC works to identify and fill gaps in mental health care in the city, with an overarching goal of coordinated care. As part of its ongoing work to identify mental health needs in the community, the collaborative is dedicated to involving the community in its work, recognizing that communities are best suited to identify the most pressing needs in their neighborhood, revealing trends and treatment populations in advance of other reporting bodies.
Join & Donate
To join the collaborative, click here to sign up. You will also be added to our quarterly newsletter.
Please email Melisse Meza, United Way SELA VP of Health and Fund Distribution at MelisseM@UnitedWaySELA.org for information on joining and/or donating to the MHC.
Co-Chair: Joseph I. Giarrusso III, New Orleans City Councilmember
Co-Chair: Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham, Executive and Medical Director, Metropolitan Human Services District
Dr. Jennifer Avegno City of New Orleans, Health Director
Ms. Jessica Diedling, MPH, PMP Ochsner Health, Associate Program Manager, Community Benefit
Ms. Lisa Gentry, LMSW, MPH Ochsner Health, AVP – Behavioral Health Service Line
Dr. Darvelle Hutchins New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, VP Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion
Dr. Julie Kaplow Trauma and Grief Center, Executive Director
Dr. Brandi Kelly, PhD Louisiana OCDD, Clinical Director
Mr. David Kulick, MPH The Focus Group, Managing Director
Ms. Angela Lockley Institute for Women and Ethical Studies, Sr. Program Manager of Community Engagement
Mr. Ron McClain, LCSW, JD Institute of Mental Hygiene, Executive Director
Ms. Kristian Mollow Beacon Behavioral
Ms. Mary Ambrose, LMSW United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Chief Equity and Impact Officer
Ms. Mayra E. Pineda Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, President and CEO
Mr. Michael Williamson United Way of Southeast Louisiana, President and CEO
Dr. Myo Thwin Myint Program Director of Fellowship/Residency Training, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) & Triple Board (Peds/Psych/CAP) Programs
Dr. Torin T. Sanders, LCSW Sixth Baptist Church, Pastor and Southern University at New Orleans, Associate Professor of Social Work
Dr. Denese Shervington, MPH Institute for Women and Ethical Studies, Founder & CEO and Tulane School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Professor
Dr. Avis Williams NOLA Students, Superintendent
Initial Presentation to New Orleans City Council | MHC created | MHC Co-Chairs secured
First membership meeting | Submitted app for SAMHSA ReCAST grant for mental health first aid
MHC Steering Committee recruitment begins
Awarded SAMHSA grant for $1.9 million
First steering committee meeting
Steering committee identifies MHC focus areas
First SAMHSA ReCAST grant partner meeting
Presentation to city council
MHC and Behavioral Health Collaborative coordination discussion
Contracts completed for ReCAST grant partners | Service delivery begins on grant
Project director of SAMHSA ReCast grant meets with all partners
MHC strategic planning discussion – Confirmed focus priority
MHC vision statement confirmed
Comprehensive community needs assessment completed