[HUNTSVILLE, AL] – On May 10, 2018, WellStone bestowed two Dr. Gary W. Porier Leadership Awards to Judge Ruth Ann Hall of Madison County and Cullman City Council President Garlan Gudger Jr. Hall and Gudger were recognized for outstanding leadership in advancing mental health and substance abuse services in Madison County and Cullman County respectively.

Judge Ruth Ann Hall is a long-time advocate of mental health and substance abuse treatment. She was appointed to the District Court Bench by Governor Bob Riley in August 2007 and appointed to the Circuit Bench by Governor Robert Bentley in July 2011. Since then, she presided over the Adult Mental Health Court and the Juvenile Conference Committee. Judge Hall founded the Juvenile Alternative Court to address the mental health needs of juveniles in Madison County. In addition, Judge Hall established a Veterans Court to meet the needs of veterans in our community who suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse.

Cullman City Council President Garlan Gudger Jr. understands how issues of mental health, substance abuse and homelessness are intertwined. As City Council President, he championed funding for an innovative collaboration between mental health and other social services to house the local homeless population to offer them a new start. That project built awareness of the tangible health and safety benefits that a community gains when offering accessible mental health services. Gudger was recognized for his role in improving local government funding and charitable giving for mental health services in Cullman County. Gudger was not able to attend the Beacon of Hope, but he was formally recognized.

The Beacon of Hope Celebration is WellStone’s annual report to the community; the event conveyed key updates and tangible community results for mental health and substance abuse services delivered in North Alabama. Over 130 community leaders, elected and appointed officials, law enforcement and education system leaders attended the event. WellStone’s Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Blair provided several examples of WellStone’s tangible results in the community

  • WellStone’s school-based therapists serve over 1,900 students in 60+ schools in Huntsville, Madison County, Madison City, Cullman County and Cullman City.
  • WellStone’s school-based program has an economic impact of almost 1 million dollars per year when considering the prevention of lost wages for families who would have missed work to transport their child to and from an office for treatment.
  • WellStone’s efforts to increase access to care and the organization’s participation in local suicide awareness events has contributed to an 80% reduction in suicide rates in Cullman County since the beginning of the year.
  • WellStone’s Jail Diversion Program collaboration with the Madison County Jail has supported the reintegration of 20 inmates back into the local community and has saved county taxpayers $50,000 within three months.
  • WellStone’s New Horizons Treatment Program is opening a medication assisted therapy clinic that provides suboxone in conjunction with therapy in response to the current opioid crisis.

A keynote presentation by Anne Moss Rogers emphasized WellStone’s unique ability to connect clients with multiple services all within the same practice. Rogers serves as the President of the Beacon Tree Foundation in Richmond, Virginia. Rogers shared her personal story about her son’s suicide in 2015, as well as statistics about access to care throughout the state of Alabama.

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About Wellstone Inc.: WellStone Inc. is a non-profit community organization that provides mental health and substance abuse services supporting the integrated health of the whole person. WellStone operates 12 facilities throughout North Alabama and Cullman. WellStone is certified through the Alabama Department of Mental Health. WellStone offers programs for children, adolescents, adults, substance abuse, school-based outreach, community services and more. For more information, visit www.wellstone.com. Additional media inquiries can be directed to the Communications Office by emailing pr@wellstone.com or by calling (256) 705-6301.