Taking part in the ribbon-cutting at Brightside Social Services Louisiana on Wednesday, Feb. 27, were, front row from left, Errin Pontiff, holding ribbon, Raven Lewis, Katina Price, executive director; Louis Roquemore, chief executive officer; Evon Roquemore, chief operating officer; Cherie Campbell, executive board and member of the Baton Rouge Area of Commerce and Glennis McKelphin Jr. Second row: Abbey Bethel Dolan, Tia Roberts, Lorenzo Lang, FORTIS College, Garret Duprene, PRIMTECH; Jimecia Williams, Destiny Morris, Mary Miller, Jessica Anderson, Diamond Sherrod, Aleta Davis and David Joseph, Clinical Reference Laboratories of America.

A combined 45 new jobs will be created in Denham Springs and Bogalusa after the expansion of a mental health clinic and behavioral health software-development, according to a statement from the Governor’s Office.

On Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards and CEO Evon Roquemore of Brightside Clinic and Everso Systems announced that mental health clinic Brightside and behavioral health software-development firm Everso will create a combined 20 new direct jobs at their respective facilities in Denham Springs and Bogalusa. 

The new direct jobs will provide an average annual salary of $45,000, plus benefits, according to a statement. 

Louisiana Economic Development estimates the expansions will result in 25 new indirect jobs in Livingston and Washington parishes, for a total of 45 new jobs in the Capital and Southeast regions of the state.

The firms also will retain 24 existing jobs.

Brightside Clinic in Denham Springs and Bogalusa are mental health outpatient clinics, and the adjoining Everso offices provide access to health care using real-time electronic visit verification, telehealth technology and compliance software tools.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Brightside has seen 25 percent month-over-month increases in patient referrals, a statement said.

“In times of challenge and uncertainty, it is important for all Louisianans to take particular care of their mental health and well-being,” Edwards said. “The expansions of Brightside Clinic and Everso Systems are designed to allow their organizations to serve a larger number of Louisiana residents and to allow our citizens to take better care of themselves and their loved ones.”

At the Brightside Clinic, the new roles to be created are clinical social worker, mental health counselor and licensed clinical director.

The jobs at Everso Systems include psychiatrist, registered mental health nurse practitioner, office manager, billing and coding manager, and operations manager.

“Brightside Clinic, coupled with the innovative and collaborative support of Everso, is a progressive pivot for mental health, utilizing leading technology,” Roquemore said. “We envision a world where mental health treatments are proactive and preventive – reducing the rate of crisis intervention as a treatment plan, where both annual mental health and physical exams are standard practice.

“Brightside and Everso are engaged, innovative and intentional in our actions. We are committed to making whole-person wellness a reality for the communities and individuals we serve.”

Brightside’s office in Denham Springs will create five new direct jobs, which LED estimates will result in three indirect jobs in the region. The Everso office in Denham Springs will also create five new direct jobs that will lead to 10 new indirect jobs.

“We are pleased that Brightside Clinic and Everso will add to the growing health care sector with their expansion in Denham Springs,” Mayor Gerard Landry said in a statement. “The additional healthcare capacity created to serve our residents is welcome.”

Added David Bennett, president/CEO of the Livingston Economic Development Council: “We are excited to see the expansion of both companies, because small business is important to sustained economic growth in Livingston Parish. The owners have demonstrated their ability to develop synergies in existing and emerging markets that will drive economic prosperity in the parish.”

Brightside Clinic in Bogalusa will create five new jobs, which LED estimates will result in three new indirect jobs, and the Bogalusa Everso office will create five new jobs, which LED estimates will result in nine new indirect jobs.

“A salaried impact of $450,000 in the Bogalusa region alone is huge; however, the impact on our Bogalusa residents’ emotional well-being is a priceless impact,” said Bogalusa Mayor Wendy O’Quin-Perrette. “I would like to thank Brightside and Everso for investing in our community and all their hard work in making our city a better place.”

“The expansion of Brightside and Everso is an exciting development in Washington Parish, and I am proud of their accomplishments,” said Executive Director Ryan Seal of the Washington Economic Development Foundation. “In this challenging year, I am delighted to see that our entrepreneurial community is growing in order to address the needs of our people. This expansion will mean more than just new jobs and economic activity; it will support the mental health of our community.”

Everso and Brightside have participated in LED Growth Network programs facilitated by the department’s Small Business Services team. In 2019, LED earned the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, based on the strength of LED’s suite of small business programs.

To facilitate the additional growth of Brightside and Everso, the companies are expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.

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