“One of the most reinforcing things is when people are happy.”
– Dr. Ashley Weiss, Founder and Co-Director
WHO WE ARE
CALM stands for Clear Answers to Louisiana Mental Health. We exist to provide accurate information about psychosis especially, the first episode. Our goal is to decrease the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) in our communities by increasing awareness about psychosis and getting people into care quickly. CALM is the advocacy and outreach arm of the Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic in New Orleans, LA (EPIC-NOLA) and runs in parallel to its programs and services. As clinical services expand, we are spreading to other parts of the state.
PROBLEMS WE ADDRESS
Psychosis is often the beginning of severe mental illness such as the schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and occurring in young people. The base of evidence shows that the longer psychosis goes untreated, the more difficult it becomes to treat, and the more disruptive it can be to a person’s life. CALM aims to educate all systems on the importance of early intervention, from community to healthcare settings, so we can work collectively to expedite care for people in need.
Our clinic EPIC-NOLA was founded in 2015 as a coordinated specialty care clinic for people experiencing psychosis. At that time, there were no such services in New Orleans, or in fact all of Louisiana. It soon became apparent that most people were spending at least two years in psychosis without stabilizing treatment. Therefore, the clinic established CALM to address this vital public health need.
“When communities are aware of what psychosis is and the symptoms of psychosis, they’re better able to detect those in loved ones and get them into care sooner.”
– Serena Chaudhry, DSW, LCSW, MPH Founder and Co-Director
THE EVOLUTION OF CALM
In 2016 EPIC-NOLA collaborated with Red Rock Branding to create a brand and a community movement aimed at improving education of psychosis, debunking myths surrounding psychosis and spreading the message that early treatment improves outcomes.
CALM became a brand with its own visual identity and EPIC-NOLA received a visual rebrand to be consistent with the CALM brand.
- Create CALM community events for patients and families. For example, our In My Mind Event showcased patients’ artistic expression of psychosis. These community events also provide opportunities to educate the community and empower patients to volunteer with outreach.
- Build relationships in the community to spread awareness and gain support. These opportunities include fundraising with local businesses and outreach with health care providers, hospitals, schools and the justice system.
- Network with other healthcare professionals and social entrepreneurs.
- Utilize CALM funds to provide financial assistance when needed (i.e. application fees, food, urgent needs).