On Thursday evening August 4th, WellStone Behavioral Health hosted a Town Hall discussion with the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Mr. Jim Perdue. With 75 people in attendance, Commissioner Perdue outlined his priorities for the immediate future of the public mental health system in Alabama. These priorities focused on improving care while saving the state money, and included better engagement of community stakeholders, utilizing community behavioral health centers to treat people in jails and prisons who have a mental illness and/or substance use disorder, and expanding services to those with autism. Commissioner Perdue also mentioned the long-term possibility of moving the central office of ADMH from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa as a way of streamlining expenses and converting property owned by ADMH into new treatment resources for our state’s most vulnerable citizens. Audience members included consumers of mental health services, family members, hospital and Regional Care Organization representatives, provider agencies, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, law enforcement, the Huntsville Mayor’s office, and the Madison County Probate Judge’s office. Discussion from the audience touched on the need to invest in peer-led services, expand Medicaid eligibility for Alabama citizens, increase mental health training for law enforcement personnel, and provide better support for the families of those with mental illness. Commissioner Perdue is holding similar Town Hall forums across the state in order to inform citizens of the needs of the mental health system and ask their assistance in contacting local legislators to emphasize the importance of adequate funding for mental health services.

See WAAY 31’s coverage of the Town Hall event here: WellStone Town Hall with ADMH Commissioner