The History of the BRCIC|
From Student Organization to Nationally-Recognized Crisis Services Innovator
The 1970’s: The Beginnings
The Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center (BRCIC) began on the campus of LSU in 1970 as a
student organization. This group provided a crisis helpline, known locally as THE PHONE, where students
could call to receive emotional support through stressful or traumatic situations.
Within a few years the crisis line services were opened to the general public. In 1974, these services were formally incorporated as the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention
Center, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit.
The BRCIC was one of the first agencies to receive accreditation by the American Association of Suicidology.
By the late 1970’s, BRCIC had provided many best practices that are used in crisis centers across the country.
The 1980’s: Growth and Evolution
In the 1980’s, we launched two important groups that became cornerstones of BRCIC: Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support group and the Children’s Bereavement Group.
Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Group
This group allows individuals who are bereaved by suicide to attend a peer facilitated support group.
Being one of the first of its kind, this model started as a psycho-educational approach that over the past thirty years evolved into para-professional peer leaders who conduct the weekly group with
Mental Health Professional support for intake assessments and long term support.
This model is now being adopted by other centers across the country. BRCIC’s SOS group remains
one of the longest running weekly support groups for survivors of suicide anywhere.
Children’s Bereavement Group (CBG)
This innovative group focused on children who were dealing with complicated grief following a traumatic death.
The model provided short-term assistance focused on teaching healthy coping mechanisms and reducing the likelihood of destructive behavior in the future.
The 1990’s: Development of the Active Postvention Model
Under the direction of Dr. Frank Campbell, the first Active Postvention Model (APM) was developed in
Baton Rouge in 1998. APM demonstrates how para-professional survivors of suicide can be an
installation of hope
to those newly bereaved and can refer the newly bereaved toward effective resources
for support during their grief process.
The model, known as the LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) Team, was later outlined in textbooks and research and received recognition
by various academic groups and trade journals throughout the United States and Europe.
Today, the LOSS team program exists in many communities throughout the country. In 2010, LOSS Team
began having an annual national conference for those collaborating nationally and internationally. The LOSS Team program continues to emphasize the importance of local outreach for referral to existing bereavement services as a method of suicide prevention.
The 2000’s: Continued Innovation and National Recognition
The Online Emotional Support Model
Starting in 2009, BRCIC began working with a national coalition led by CONTACT USA on the development
of the first free and confidential online emotional support (OES) model, later known as CrisisChat.org.
The CrisisChat.org initiative became the basis of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s Crisis Chat
initiative funded by SAMHSA.
BRCIC was the first crisis center to achieve accreditation for online emotional support (OES).
The BRCIC was also the only crisis center in the country to achieve three industry leading accreditations at the same time — American Association of Suicidology (AAS), Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) and CONTACT USA.
The Role of Care Management in Crisis Intervention
In recent years BRCIC has led the field in understanding the role that care management plays in
telephonic crisis intervention. Several successful models organized around care management have been implemented across the state of Louisiana and beyond.
BRCIC also successfully developed best practices around crisis intervention and care management currently utilized across the state of Louisiana and beyond.
The Present: Building on the Past and Looking to the Future
By 2018, the BRCIC had changed its name to CICLA and was heavily invested in becoming a service provider to many
organizations and business providers seeking to implement a care management approach and this effort began to drive up staff size while
experiencing a drop in volunteer involvement.
As funding for crisis services from the traditional charitable resources struggled to
raise donor dollars and new technology allowed donors to give more directly to a person or organization, the Center’s Board of Directors faced a budget
crisis and choices had to be made that would ensure that THE PHONE can remain a statewide recognized brand that symbolizes hope and
comfort for those in need.
So in 2018 THE PHONE, along with all crisis line services operated by CICLA, were transferred to another crisis
line provider in Louisiana. After considering the options of merger or dissolution, BRCIC’s Board of Directors
instead accepted the challenge to redesign our efforts and reduce overhead by selling one property, retiring current debt, and investing in our
Joseph “Jody” Howell Traumatic Loss Center property to ensure our agency achieved new long-term goals, while maintaining our original focus.
Recommitment to Support and Training
The board returned to our BRCIC agency name in order to concentrate our efforts
on providing the weekly bereavement services we have delivered for so long while developing a new program for training others in suicidology to become the
local experts in their communities. That program is the National Suicidology Training Center (NSTC) and will be a resource for all who want to become a local
expert in this field.
The NSTC quickly drew collaborations with nationally-recognized topic expert organizations.
These include: the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), LSU School of Social Work (LSU-SSW) and Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS) who support military families following
Traumatic loss. Each collaboration will bring notables from their field; NSTC will provide a learning environment that delivers high access to the faculty through limited enrollments. This will produce
deeper examination of topics that reduce suicide’s impact. Learn more at the NSTC site.
Please note: The BRCIC website is not intended to provide help in a crisis.
If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP's Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world.
In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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