Mental illness facility on the way to Calcasieu Parish Schools

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish Schools will soon be opening a new academic and treatment facility for students suffering from mental illness in the lake area.

The school district is opening the new facility known as Positive Connections with money from a $726,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Project Director Ernest Fruge said this program will focus on promoting academic and treatment resources to students who attend the facility.

"We are seeking to work in the fashion of a day treatment program," said Fruge. "We are working with a local hospital to provide a school based health clinic for that program. We also plan to have a full time nurse as well as health professionals at the program."

Positive Connections will also be partnering with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to provide their Basics course that will teach parents about their child's mental illness.

Executive director of NAMI, Clarice Raichel, said this is crucial to getting through the early stages of the student's illness.

"I can tell you first hand from having a son with skitzophrenia that education is the number 1 component of knowing how to deal with a child that has a mental illness," said Raichel. "They'll know what to look for and how to address it at a younger age so that the illness doesn't progress at a level many times it does in the adult life."

The new facility is located at 5254 Weaver Road and is expected to open their doors in January 2011.

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