Mental Health Awareness

The Mental Health Committee of Touro Synagogue is made up of members of the congregation and clergy. Our mission is to provide support, services and programs to our congregants and their families who are dealing with mental health challenges.

We have partnered with two organizations to connect our congregants to support groups and other services. One is with Jewish Family Service, which focuses on promoting good mental health and confronting anxiety with several groups targeted for specific needs. For example, JFS has support groups for parents of LGBTQ youth, for LGBTQ adults with anxiety, for caregivers to talk about their stress, for parents of young children and for those of teens preparing for college and a bereavement support group, too. We are looking to offer some of these groups at Touro in the future and would like to hear from you about which ones would be most helpful. Please go to to find locations and times and more details about what they offer.

Our other partner is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Its New Orleans chapter provides support groups at NAMI offices on Louisiana Avenue and on the West Bank, as well as at Congregation Beth Israel in Metairie. They offer groups for loved ones of those living with mental illness, for folks with mental illnesses themselves and for survivors of suicide loss. Please see for a complete listing.

Speaking of suicide loss and suicide prevention, the Mental Health Committee has been concerned about the rise in teen suicide and the suicidal thoughts that accompany depression. With that in mind, during Religious School on Sunday, October 22nd at 9:00 a.m., Rabbi Berk and a guest speaker will be presenting “A Response to 13 Reasons,” a look at the powerful but challenging Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” The show has prompted debate about who should watch, who shouldn’t, as well as much discussion about teen suicide and how complicated the culture of adolescence has become. Adolescents, their parents and anyone else concerned about the welfare of our youth are invited.

A panel will also be offered in the Spring to educate parents about how to help our children navigate a world that is constantly changing.

Please let us know if you would like to join the Mental Health Committee. All are welcome. If you have ideas about how we, as a community, can support those who are struggling with problems they are facing, please let us know.

Respectfully yours,

David Hammer, 504-717-1677.
Nancy B. Timm, LCSW, 504-722-8414.

Touro Synagogue seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues and offer guidance and support to members and their families coping with mental health issues, addiction, recovery or the challenges faced by caregivers. Our community rejects the stigma society places on mental illness and addiction and encourages those suffering in silence — whether personally or as a caregiver — to know that you are not alone.

Touro is here with you. Many in our congregation know your personal pain.

Rabbi Berk, Rabbi Silverman, and our congregational leaders are dedicated to helping those suffering with mental illness, depression, anxiety, bipolar conditions, substance or alcohol addiction, postpartum depression or any other mental health issue get the pastoral care and medical attention they deserve.

All conversations will be completely confidential.

Please contact Rabbi Berk or Rabbi Silverman at 504-895-4843 or by email at or to set up an appointment or to get in touch with qualified health care providers.

Also, you may find help and support from the following services and programs:

Jewish Family Service of New Orleans – Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans (JFS) is a social service agency dedicated to preserving, strengthening, and enhancing the well-being and self-sufficiency of individuals and families at every stage of life.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – NAMI New Orleans offers hope, help, and healing to people with mental illness – and to those who share their lives – through family support, education and advocacy, and quality psychosocial services. Touro’s Mental Health Awareness Committee has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to provide services for our congregants struggling with their own or a loved one’s mental health condition. Please visit NAMI’s site to view their calendar of support group meetings.

Addictionary – a free web-based resource hub that strives to provide the most up-to-date information and available treatment services across the nation
Alcoholics Anonymous
– Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
Al-Anon – For families supporting alcoholics and recovering alcoholics
Family and Friends Guide – The Recovery Village – A web resource provided by Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS). ARS is an integrated behavioral health care management organization dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health issues – A dedicated team of seasoned mental health professionals, professional writers, and website developers, who collaborates in a face-to-face environment to ensure our information is current and accurate
Metropolitan Crisis Response Team – Provides telephone and face-to-face triage, assessment, and intervention for persons experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises. 24/7 clinical staff used to prevent unnecessary mental health hospitalizations and instead link consumers to community based services that better address their needs. – Provides information for Addiction Recovery Centers in New Orleans and its nearby cities – Provides information on New Orleans Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab Facilities
Student Mental Health Resources – This comprehensive guide discusses and details a number of mental health issues, including information on how they impact academic performance and where to find help
Via Link 211 – Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK or dial 2-1-1 for Louisiana Crisis helpline