MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The topic of mental health might be taboo, but local community organizations are collaborating to help eliminate that stigma by holding an open discussion about mental health in Mobile.

The goal is to hear from Mobile citizens, of all ages, on what city leaders can do to address mental health disparities in the area.

This is a collaborative effort between Mobile United’s Leadership Mobile Health and Human Resources Group and many other local organizations.

The first discussion was held last night, the second session of the community conversation will be held Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon at the Junior League of Mobile. 

Everyone is invited to participate in the conversation and share their ideas on how Mobilians can get the resources they need to help overcome mental health challenges. 

Jeremy Fletcher, a member of the team that helped create this safe space for Mobilians to speak openly about mental health, believes it is vital for the community to participate so they can do whatever is necessary to make a change.

The top healthcare service that community members feel are difficult to obtain in Mobile or Baldwin Counties are mental health services, according to a 2022 community health needs assessment.  

“That’s a need that we continue to see across all of the organizations that represent this particular effort,” said Fletcher, director of community integration for Veterans Recovery Resources and member of Leadership Mobile. “As a leadership mobile team we decided we wanted to do something about that and what we wanted to do was hear from the voices and people that are most impacted by these particular issues.”

There will be a facilitator to lead the conversation and Fletcher says they’ll also have check-ins during the session.

“People have the ability to leave the meeting if something may be triggering them and we do have trained professionals who will be available to help people navigate those issues on site,” said Fletcher.

Although this is their first community conversation around this topic, Leadership Mobile’s hope is that it will spark more discussions in the future.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation on mental health in Mobile, you can RSVP through their Facebook page.