Mental Health Reform in New Orleans: Dr. Karen Desalvo, New Orleans Health Commissioner Interview

The following audio clip is from an interview I had last month with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the City of New Orleans Health Commissioner. As Health Commissioner, Dr. Desalvo is working to improve public health in New Orleans in several ways. One of her main focuses is on improving mental health services within the community. She discusses mental health as a public health issue which can often lead to violence, something to which the city of New Orleans is no stranger.

“Severe mental illness gone awry can easily lead to violence and/or the criminalization of mental health behavior which leads to imprisonment. There are people in jail in our community who really just need treatment for their mental health issues or substance abuse,” Desalvo said. ”There is violence on our streets that is the result of people not having their mental health issues or substance abuse issues adequately treated…It is important for our entire community that we tackle violence. Violence is a public health problem and it is very tightly linked to mental health and substance abuse.”

Listen to the interview below to learn more about mental health reform in New Orleans.

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