MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile City and other health officials discuss ways to improve mental health services throughout the city. After a two-hour-long meeting, everyone agreed the best way to help improve these services is to receive more funding.
City Councilmember Scott Jones said Alabama is last in mental healthcare, and he believes that it is unacceptable.
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of watching mental health folks die on our streets in the city,” said Jones. “And we can either watch it and do nothing, or we can take action, and I am not just gonna sit by and watch it.”
Members of AltaPointe and the Alabama Department of Mental Health attended as well.
Schanvia Sashington, a Mobile resident, shared an emotional testimony about her adopted son’s intellectual disability before the City Councilmen. She hopes sharing her story about her son can help shed more light on mental health resources in Mobile.
“This system even has citizens taking their own lives due to the poor state of our current resources,” said Sashington. “If Marcus could speak, he could tell you. That this year he’s spent 96 days in four different hospitals.”
The CEO of AltaPointe, Turek Schlesinger, said he’s glad the meeting took place, but the main issue is a lack of funding.
“I think that was a heartbreaking story in that mother, who has really taken on a lot when she adopted a person with special needs,” said Schlesinger. “But they also got the council to start realizing that the problem was treating people with intellectual disabilities in this state have a lot to do with funding.”
Councilman William Carroll said programs like Medicaid could help with funding issues.
“I think Medicaid expansion in this case, will provide the resources that we need to handle these type of mental illnesses and to create those pockets of funds that we need,” said Carroll.
After the long meeting, city officials are discussing where to get the proper funding.
“If we don’t find the money, we’re not going to fix the problem,” said Councilmember Joel Daves.