August 05, 2021  |  03:58 pm

On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, Sheriff Randy Smith was honored to speak at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the NESS Center in Mandeville. The NESS Center is located at the Northlake Behavioral Health System on U.S. Highway 190 in Mandeville. It is a comprehensive outpatient clinic providing various treatments for a wide range of mental health and substance abuse disorders. The center has a team of licensed healthcare professionals who provide a range of care from intensive outpatient treatment and alumni support. The Center will also have a Mobile Crisis Team, which will provide community based services to adults and adolescents experiencing a behavioral health crisis needing on-site intervention and referral.

The Executive Director of the NESS Center is Toni Bonvillian, who will collaborate with an Advisory Committee consisting of mental health experts, Nick Richard with National Alliance of Mental Illnesses, Richard Kramer with Florida Parishes Human Services, Adele Bruce Smith with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, Shannon Hattier with specialty courts, and Susan Johannsen also with specialty courts.

Present at the ceremony were Public Service Commissioner, Eric Skrmetta, St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Dr. Charles Preston, Adele Bruce Smith with the Coroner’s Office, Nick Ricard, with NAMI, Dana Alkadi, Vice President of Public Relations for the NESS Center at Northlake, Toni Bonvillian,and many NESS Center staff members,

The Sheriff is very excited to partner with the NESS Center and its Mobile Crisis Team in order to provide the upmost care possible for those suffering with mental illnesses and substance abuse addictions. The first Mobile Crisis Unit in St. Tammany will be able to respond immediately to prevent a psychiatric crisis from becoming an emergency that would require hospitalization or incarceration.

Sheriff Smith would like to congratulate Northlake Behavioral Health, the NESS Center and all of the mental health experts who have diligently worked to make this Center and Mobile Crisis Unit a reality.

“The STPSO Crisis Intervention team will work with the NESS Center and its Mobile Crisis Unit in order to provide the much needed mental health treatment to those experiencing crisis. The St. Tammany Parish Community has shown over and over it cares about mental health awareness, and this is another example of when the Coroner’s Office, NAMI, FPHSA, and the specialty courts come together, great things happen! If and when you are in a mental health crisis or suffering from substance abuse WE will be there to help!” Sheriff Smith said.