May 05, 2021

Help Not Handcuffs

A webinar series focused on addressing mental health crises with comprehensive community responses

NAMI Ask The Expert — Help, Not Handcuffs
Part 4: Implementing a New System

May 20, 2021, 4 – 5:30 p.m. ET

In part four of our webinar series, community experts will provide an overview of the crisis model being developed and implemented in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and will offer background on how to get started locally on implementation of a new crisis system.

Following the presentations, NAMI’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Duckworth will lead a guided discussion and Q&A with our panel of experts.


Read the Transcript

Our Experts


Mary BurckellMary Burckell, Director, Safe Haven
Mary Burckell has a diverse and extensive background in education, governmental relations and project management. Mary’s work on the Safe Haven Project, the Parish-owned continuum of care behavioral health campus, culminated in her most recent role as Director of Safe Haven. Mary has a passion to improve behavioral health treatment and she hopes to lead the Safe Haven campus into a new phase while staying true to Safe Haven’s vision.


Nick RichardNick Richard, Executive Director, NAMI St. Tammany
Nick Richard has been Executive Director of NAMI St. Tammany since December 2008. During his tenure, he has built strong community relationships between law enforcement, mental health care providers and community leaders. He has served as a mentor during both the formation of 22nd JDC Behavioral Health Court and the creation of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. He is currently the co-chair for his community on the CIT Steering Committee and is a Certified CIT Coordinator. He is a member of the 22nd Judicial District Behavioral Health Court Team, a member of the St. Tammany Parish Safe Haven Task Force, Safe Haven Advisory Board and serves on the Safe Haven Foundation.

Most recently, Nick received the 2020 Crisis Intervention Team Advocate of the Year through CIT International. He was also recognized by his fellow NAMI Executive Directors and awarded the Vicki Cottrell Leadership Award at the 2019 NAMI National Convention. He received the 22nd Judicial District Attorney Award for work on behalf of people living with mental illness in the criminal justice system and was a past recipient of the City Business Health Care Hero Award.


Tom RowanTom Rowan, Project Director and Peer Support Specialist Supervisor, NAMI St. Tammany
Tom Rowan is the Project Director and Peer Support Specialist Supervisor with NAMI St. Tammany. Tom has managed his personal recovery since June 13,1993, and has been with NAMI St. Tammany since 2008. During this time, he has provided guidance and support for individuals experiencing co-occurring disorders in various roles, including Housing Coordinator and Case Manager with the Behavioral Health Court for the 22nd Judicial District Court. He was the first Peer Specialist in Louisiana to be employed in an adult acute psychiatric facility (Southeast Louisiana Hospital) and uses his experience to guide and manage NAMI St. Tammany’s staff of Peer Support Specialists. He holds a clinical license as a Certified Addiction Counselor and is also credentialed as a Certified Peer Support Specialist by the state of Louisiana.


Judge Alan ZaunbrecherJudge Alan Zaunbrecher, 22nd Judicial District Court, Louisiana
Alan Zaunbrecher serves as a judge in the 22nd Judicial District Court in Louisiana, where he currently presides over both Behavior Health Court and Assisted Outpatient Treatment Court.Judge Zaunbrecher earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and his Juris Doctorate and Masters of Law from Tulane Law School.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).