Singing Gospel Songs

I’ve posted numerous times on the terrible state of mental health services in New Orleans. It has not improved.Here is another sad story…

A 58-year-old woman who was just released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center apparently drowned in the Mississippi River early Sunday, police said.

She was identified as Antoinette J. Harry of the 3000 block of Scott Street in Jefferson, said Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson.

Harry, whose husband told police had a history of mental illness, had been arrested after a disturbance Saturday and was booked on outstanding warrants, Lawson said. She was released from jail early Sunday.

“She refused to go with the husband and wandered off,” the chief said.

Two tugboat captains reported to police Sunday around 3:30 a.m. that theysaw a woman splashing and swimming on her back in the river while singing gospel songs, Lawson said. Gretna police called the Harbor Police, who found her body at 5:19 a.m. (emphasis mine)

There just are not enough psychiatric professionals or psych beds in New Orleans.Yesterday from New Orleans City Business.com…

New Orleans lost more than 70 percent of its mental health physicians following the storm, said Hoffpauir.

The city is down to 17 adult inpatient psychiatric beds from a pre-storm high of 234, a 93 percent decrease. The number of children’s beds fell 80 percent from 50 to 10.

Yet the need for services is great…

The study echoes an August report by James Barbee, a professor at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and director of the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Clinic, which found more than half of respondents in New Orleans need mental health assistance.

After an initial burst of spirit in New Orleans when people vowed to rebuild, reality set in. Many lost their jobs and suffered broken relationships while battling insurance companies and contractors.

Until the city replaces its lost psychiatric inpatient beds the situation will not improve, said Barbee.