Alabama Legislators Announce Unprecedented Mental Health Initiative
Wednesday afternoon Senate and House leaders announced an unprecedented initiative designed to expand and improve mental health services in Alabama.
The five measure package which includes bills with both Democrat and Republican Sponsorship contains the following:
*A School Services Coordinator Bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R) and Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D- Birmingham). Requires each school system in the state to employ a mental health service coordinator.
*A 72-Hour Hold Bill, sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy) and Sen. Donnie Chesteen (R- Geneva). Authorizes law enforcement officers to place individuals who are believed to have mental illness and pose a threat to themselves or others under 72-hour protective custody, which includes transportation to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.
*A CIT Training Bill, sponsored by Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) and Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre). Requires the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission to provide mandatory crisis intervention training and continuing education to law enforcement officers.
*A Crisis Care Center joint resolution by Rep. Randall She’d (R-Fairview) and Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman). Calls for immediate creation and funding of three 24-hour crisis care centers, which serve as alternatives to costly hospital and emergency room visits by providing suicide prevention and other mental health services on an immediate, walk-in basis.
*A Stepping Up joint resolution by Rep Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro). Encourages Alabama’s 687 counties to implement and embrace the Stepping Up Initiative, which seeks to reduce the number of individuals in jail with mental illness.
Governor Kay Ivey stressed mental health care improvements in her State of the State Address earlier in February.