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LOU Mental Health Alliance taking shape

By Lucy Schultze

Special to the The EAGLE

For all the time they spend connecting with the lives of their clients, many mental health professionals don’t often connect with each other. Now a fledgling organization aims to bring them together — both for their own sake and for the benefit of the broader community.

“When we connect with each other, we can better serve people’s mental health needs,” said psychologist Danielle Maack, PhD, chair of the Lafayette-Oxford-University Mental Health Alliance. “Coming together as professionals helps us learn about each other’s practices. When we have a client whose needs don’t match our own services, we know where to refer them.”

Still in its infancy, the LOU-MHA grew out of a series of networking events initiated and hosted by Oxford Treatment Center, an alcohol-and-drug addiction treatment facility.

Beginning in the spring of 2014, it began sponsoring regular networking meetings and maintaining a professional resource guide for local mental health providers. A broader group stepped forward this year to take ownership of the effort.

The all-volunteer board for LOU-MHA includes Maack, a clinical psychologist with Delta Autumn Consulting; therapist Jeannie Falkner, PhD, LCSW; therapist Tiffany Lewis, LPC, of Grace Counseling Services; and therapist Emily Grace Ames, M.Ed., NCC, of Oxford Treatment Center. Phil Baquie, PhD, LPC, of Oxford Counseling Center has also helped guide the group’s formation, in addition to providing its home base at The Edison on University Avenue. Lucy Schultze of Oxford Treatment Center provides communications support.

The mission of the LOU-MHA is to strengthen collaborative relationships among mental health providers and related professionals, and to advocate for the mental health needs of the community. The group is open to therapists, counselors, psychologists and social workers, as well as faculty and graduate students in those fields. There are no membership dues or time requirements.

Leadership meetings are open to those who’d like to be more involved. They are held at noon on the first Tuesday of each month at The Edison.

Sponsors for networking events provide food and beverages for the gatherings, which may include 25 to 40 people. Sponsors are invited to give a brief talk about their services. The next quarterly networking event will be Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.