The Department of Health has learned that Louisiana has been selected as a pilot state for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Family Network program. Louisiana is one of three states to receive this program that will help families receive the most effective and appropriate mental health services for their children.

NAMI’s Child and Adolescent Action Center is developing this network to promote evidence-based practices in children’s mental health. Louisiana is joined by Illinois and Pennsylvania as targeted recipients of materials and resources designed to better educate families to become effective advocates on behalf of their children’s needs.

“We are pleased to have been chosen by the National Alliance on Mental Illness as a pilot state for this Family Network,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise. “Being chosen is validation that our focus on improving mental health care is being recognized at the national level. More importantly, this project will result in improved mental health care for the children of our state.”

According to NAMI, the Family Network will focus on family education, advocacy and action.

“Today, we know far more about the most effective treatments for many early onset mental illnesses. Yet, these interventions often fail to reach those children and families who need them most. The failure to use effective treatment interventions outside of academic and research centers has widened the gap between what we know works and what is done in clinical practice,” said Jennifer Jantz, Executive Director, NAMI Louisiana.

She added that the Family Network’s goal is to empower family leaders to advocate for change.

“We will focus on family education, advocacy and action to close the gap between science and services in children’s mental health by mobilizing families into an effective, grassroots initiative for change,” Jantz said.

Anyone who is interested in being a part of the Family Network should call toll-free 1-866-851-6264 or email namilouisiana@bellsouth.net.

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