Mental illness investigations increase in EBR
BATON ROUGE - Experts said a police standoff this weekend highlights a growing mental health problem in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Over the weekend 42-year old Kelli Leon locked herself inside a home in Sherwood Forest and fired a weapon, according to Baton Rouge Police. The SWAT Team was called in and the standoff ended about 16 hours later.
"It's generally very quiet," Grant Thudium said. "I've lived here 14 years and have never seen anything like that."
The number of mental health investigations across East Baton Rouge Parish has increased over the past two years, according to freshly-released statistics. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark said his office is swamped with mental health investigations.
"Our jurisdiction is not only the investigation of death, but also investigation of mental illness," Clark said. "We do if not the same but more mental health investigations than death investigations."
Statistics show the number of people committed to mental institutions is also increasing:
- 2010 - 3,903 committed
- 2011 - 4,316 committed
- 2012 - 3,174 so far (October, November and December numbers not available yet)
"We certainly don't see trends when we look at data from one month to the next, we don't see it worse in summer or winter time," Clark said. "It seems to be steady, but the incline itself is just as steady."
When Leon surrendered early this morning she was taken to a hospital for treatment. She was also cited for illegal discharge of a weapon.