[CULLMAN, AL] Beginning June 1 , a Mobile Crisis Team will officially be added to WellStone Cullman’s program list. An initiative led by Senator Garlan Gudger, the two-person team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to respond to Cullman County residents in a mental health or substance use crisis. The team primarily focuses on individuals 18 and over who experience a behavioral health crisis in Cullman County. The goal of this new resource is to assess needs, then resolve the immediate crisis through direct intervention or find the best fit resources to successfully resolve the crisis.
“We’re very fortunate that Cullman was approved to establish this type of service and a lot of that credit goes to Senator Gudger,” comments WellStone Chief Operational Officer Chris Van Dyke. ” The team responds to crisis where it happens, which can often reduce or avoid Emergency Room utilization or arrests. Then, the team can identify where the individual needs to go next; whether that is outpatient treatment or another community-based service.” He continues, “Any time behavioral health professionals can focus on behavioral health crisis cases, it benefits other essential community partners such as law enforcement and hospital workers. This way, all professionals can focus on their particular specialties and better serve Cullman County as a whole.”
A significant amount of the development success is the initiative of Senator Garlan Gudger. Mental health is a platform that he has ran on since his days in Cullman’s City Council and he continues to prove that he will not stop being an advocate at the state level for funding mental health. Senate members along with Gudger, like Senator Steve Livingston and Senator Greg Albritton are collaborating to champion this cause in the Senate.
In the House, the mental health cause was championed by majority leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, which created a task force for the State. Members of the task force included Livingston, Albritton and Cullman’s Representative Randall Shedd and Representative Scott Stadhagen who carried legislation for the House. Last year, Representative Shedd and Senator Gudger won the “Legislators of the Year” award for the House and for the Senate from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Alabama. Having a local delegation that sees mental health as a priority is substantial, especially when representing Cullman County at a state level.
When asked about the funding Gudger stated, “I am just doing my job. There has been and continues to be an immediate need to keep mental health patients out of our jails and out of our hospitals that by not doing so, only wastes taxpayer’s dollars. Plus, the safety of all Cullman County citizens is a large concern to me, as I ran my campaign on that promise. Being able to provide extra funding for a Mobile Crisis Team that will be available 24/7 to accomplish those goals is a good start to giving our citizens, family members and friends a resource to use when needed.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (256) 705-6301.