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Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center experiencing influx of calls

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BATON ROUGE – Phones are constantly ringing at the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center since the August flood.

Residents left dealing with anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the flood has caused them to reach out to the center's crisis intervention hot line.

The crisis center receives roughly 24,000 callers in a regular period. Since the flood in August, at least 20,000 additional calls have come in. According to intervention specialists, even more calls are coming in soon.

"Anywhere between 60-90 days is when we see the biggest peak of calls," Aaron Blackledge, crisis center director, said.

With the peak calling period around the corner, the center has concerns about their ability to handle the volume of callers without state of local funding.

"I say that because it greatly limits the number of staff we can bring in, the fact is, we didn't have adequate funding in Baton Rouge prior to the storm, and we certainly don't have more or any additional now," Blackledge said.

Although the center has received limited funding, the hotline has saved and helped thousands of lives since the center opened in the '70's. A study done by the center showed that the crisis hotline saves the community four million in emergency room admissions.

"It can be very taxing emotionally, but it definitely makes you feel very helpful and it's definitely meaningful work. You get so many grateful callers," Allan Grant, crisis hotline specialist, said.

However, intervention specialists say that their help is needed now more than ever.

"There may be other outlets for the frustration they're dealing with, we know there is a lot of individuals calling us that have high frustration they are going through to re-build," Blackledge said.

For those wanting to reach out to the 24/7 anonymous crisis intervention hotline, call 225-924-3900.

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