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InCourage Project

Major tragedies or disasters in an individual’s life often create a type of anxiety disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder.

For example, many of Louisiana’s citizens suffer from post-disaster stress, depression, and anxiety as a result of the South’s devastating hurricanes, such as Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), and Gustav (2008). These powerful hurricanes ripped through the South, damaging homes, separating families, obliterating businesses, eliminating jobs, and most of all, changing lives forever.

A program called the InCourage Project is a cognitive behavioral therapy designed to treat people who have mental health problems due to post-disaster stress. This model is a skills-based intervention that is based on treatments that have been empirically validated for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. This InCourage model may help individuals deal with mental health issues related to natural disasters; or family, personal, and community disasters, such as domestic violence, loss of loved ones, or loss of property.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) implemented the InCourage Project with great success in the Baton Rouge area following Hurricane Katrina. In 2010, the Foundation awarded a grant to the Alliance for Children and Families of Louisiana (ACFL) to replicate this program throughout Louisiana to see if the Alliance could achieve the same amount of success statewide that was achieved by BRAF in the Baton Rouge area.

The Picard Center is partnering with BRAF and ACFL to evaluate the statewide InCourage Project. This includes the evaluation of professional development and training, implementation, and client outcomes.

Stay tuned for the project’s evaluation results, scheduled for release in January 2012.