AN UNPRECEDENTED RESPONSE
Louisiana Spirit’s approaches to facilitating the psychosocial recovery of its communities were based on a number of factors unparalleled by any natural disaster that has occurred within the U.S. in the last 25 years.
Hurricane Katrina’s death toll of over 1,400 people remains among the highest in the country due to a natural disaster since the U.S. heat wave in 1980. This level of mass casualty, combined with the distress of dealing with lost loved ones, long-term loss of housing and employment, and the decline of state-wide economic grounding resulted in an immeasurable sense of loss and prolonged trauma for Louisiana residents. The massive, broad displacement of survivors to points across the U.S. equated to drastic temporary disruption in the lives of most, and to permanent change of environment and support systems for many. So many struggled to cope with adjusting to new communities, schools, job markets, and the uncertainty of whether or not life would ever be the same.
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To meet these needs, Louisiana Spirit had to fashion and sustain its program in a way that would allow it to address survivor needs across an atypical duration of time. For example, the Immediate Services Program (ISP) of the Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) typically runs 60 days in duration, while Louisiana Spirit’s ISP ran for one year; the CCP Regular Services Program (RSP) typically runs 9 months in duration, while Louisiana Spirit’s RSP ran for just over two years.
From the perspective of services delivered, Louisiana Spirit had to innovate its program design to address the long-term needs of one of its most devastated groups—children and youth. From this need, the Specialized Crisis Counseling Services pilot was created, which enabled the program to intensify its counseling services to the children and youth of its communities.SO'NIA'S INTERVIEW
It is through these unique experiences, and more, that this documentary showcases the many lessons learned by Louisiana Spirit.