Psychiatry & Mental Health Services

Finding the right kind of help for an emotional problem may be difficult and confusing. There are so many mental health facilities available, which one is right for you? How might you begin to explain all of the things that are bothering you?

Ochsner recognizes the relationship between mental health and total well being. For decades, it has applied excellence and innovation to patient care, as well as research and education to the delivery of psychiatry and mental health services. In the Ochsner tradition of clinical excellence, also delivers a breadth of psychiatric services and specialty treatment programs unmatched by other mental health facilities. Depending upon the nature of a patient's problem, Ochsner provides treatment services ranging from short-term outpatient counseling or group therapy to hospital inpatient or day patient programs. Whether you are seeking help for depression, anxiety, a failing relationship, emotional effects of a medical illness or life change or an addictive disorder, Ochsner’s team of specialists and subspecialists may help you sort through your pain and confusion.

Acute Psychiatry Services (In-patient hospitalization)

The Ochsner Mental Health team provides short-term crisis intervention and treatment for people with severe depression, acute anxiety disorders and acute psychotic disorders. The 14-bed Acute Psychiatry Unit is designed to provide a safe and secure environment where patients are stabilized and begin their recovery. Patients receive a complete medical and neurological examination to differentiate between medical and psychiatric illness. Members of the team discuss each patient's problems and design a custom treatment plan that is constantly evaluated and modified as the patient progresses. Treatment services are designed to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life. Patients receive constant, expert nursing care and attend individual and group sessions for relaxation and occupational therapy. Ochsner also provides a comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessment for elderly patients, including crisis intervention, diagnosis and treatment recommendations or referrals.

Geriatric Psychiatry Services

Ochsner provides a comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessment for geriatric patients designed to pinpoint a treatable condition, maximize self-sufficiency and minimize the necessity of institutional care. When an elderly person comes to Ochsner with symptoms that concern the person or members of the family, a mental health professional interviews both the patient and a family member to obtain a history of the condition. A complete psychiatric evaluation is conducted to determine the patient's mental status (for example, memory, ability to calculate and orientation to people and time). Neuropsychological testing is used to identify any possible abnormalities in brain functioning, which might cause symptoms of dementia (deteriorating mental status). Conditions such as depression are treatable and some causes of dementia are reversible. Ochsner staff psychiatrists are nationally recognized for their expertise in these areas.

The Ochsner Department of Psychiatry has access to the most advanced diagnostic and testing facilities for any studies needed. It functions as a team with the departments of Internal Medicine and Neurology in order to identify the problem and design the treatment approach that will most effectively return the patient to a life of dignity and productivity.

Medical Psychiatry

Psychiatric and neurological evaluations of patients with chronic psychiatric illness, acute or chronic medical illness, organ transplant patients or patients whose medication regimen is causing emotional disorders may benefit from Ochsner Medical’s psychiatry services. Other physicians or patients frequently ask us to give a second opinion in medically complicated cases.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology Services

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Section offers outpatient consultation, evaluation, testing and treatment for children and adolescents with problems related to behavior, feelings, emotions, thinking and learning. The approach involves teams of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, in close collaboration with educational specialists, primary care pediatricians and pediatric specialists. Services begin with a comprehensive diagnostic assessment initiated with a social worker, psychologist or child and adolescent psychiatrist, depending on the preferences of the family and the referring physician. Consultations with other members of the team are obtained as needed, followed by a post-diagnostic conference with parents. When indicated, outpatient treatment is provided. Treatments can include individual psychotherapy, parent guidance, family therapy, group therapy and medication. The selection or combination of these options is tailored to the individual needs of the individual child and family.

In addition to services at Ochsner Medical Center, child and adolescent psychiatric social workers are available at the health centers in Hammond, Mandeville and Slidell. Psychiatry consultation is also available at Mandeville Pediatrics. Children and adolescents hospitalized for medical reasons at Ochsner Medical Center may also receive urgent or planned psychiatric consultation. Indications for consultation include suicidal behavior, delirium or disruptive behavior interfering with medical treatment, coping with major or chronic medical illnesses (including transplantation, cardiac surgery and cancer), and complex diagnostic problems such as conversion syndromes. When needed, inpatient hospitalization and transitional partial hospital programs are arranged through affiliation with the DePaul-Tulane Hospital in uptown New Orleans.

The Ochsner Behavioral Medicine Unit is designed specifically for the individual who is able to function, but whose life has become so difficult that a treatment in a structural environment is necessary. The program operates on the conviction that individuals are able to change and are able to learn the skills needed to succeed in making those changes. Treatment for stress-related emotional and physical problems is available on an outpatient day program basis, depending upon the needs of the patient.