Baton Rouge’s You Aren’t Alone Project Is Erasing Stigma And Creating Solutions For Mental Health

The You Aren’t Alone Project was founded by Louisiana native Chelsea Borrauno. She wanted to bring awareness and provide resources for others to positively handle their health. She created the You Aren’t Alone Project to support mental health and wellness in Baton Rouge. The project aims to give people an understanding of mental wellness, erase stigmas, and invests in building relationships to move the initiative forward. 

“Community is vital for mental health,” she said. “The moment you feel like you are alone in your struggle is the moment you lose hope altogether.”

The founder and executive director initiated the project after she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

“I had been living with a thing that I couldn’t put a name to,” she said.  “A thing that I didn’t realize had so much control over my life until I was on the other side of it. I did get to the other side, though, and I knew from that moment that I wanted to help others get the support they needed as well.”

According to SAMHSA, 3.6% of adults in Louisiana live with severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, but only 38.2% of adults with mental illness in Louisiana receive any form of treatment.

The platform hopes to pave the way for mental health to be treated and talked about in the same way as physical health. The organization expects to do this through power and strength of collaboration. The You Aren’t Alone Project focuses on responding to the needs of the communities by being proactive. They do this through small-group opportunities for wellness support. So far, the project has held several small group-themed meetups. They also offer resources in response to both the pandemic and minority communities.

The You Aren’t Alone Project exists to erase stigmas about mental health. (Graphic by  You Aren’t Alone Project)
The You Aren’t Alone Project exists to erase stigmas about mental health. (Graphic by You Aren’t Alone Project)

“Accessibility is the end-game,” she said. 

Currently, Borrauno is working on a free resource program that connects individuals to therapists. The volunteer therapists will offer free sessions for people in need of their services. Borrauno also hopes to cover the costs of the therapy sessions through funding.

“Ideas for this project are endless, but of course, resources are not,” she said.

The concept is still in the early stages of development. But Burrano says she’s personally and professionally passionate about the new project and hopes to work with the community to bring it to fruition. 

“I am a firm believer that we can’t and shouldn’t have to do any of this alone,” Borrauno said. “I also believe that a diverse group of thinkers and doers is the best recipe for making a powerful impact.” Ultimately, the You Aren’t Alone Project wants to support individuals and communities.

The organization hopes to continue being a resource to Louisiana with its innovations toward mental health in the community.

To learn more about You Aren’t Alone Project, click here.

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