In 2015, St. Vincent de Paul’s Voice of the Poor Committee formed the North Alabama Mental Health Coalition (NAMHC) for the purpose of improving the plight of the seriously mentally ill, many of whom are homeless or in jail. NAMHC brought together stakeholders from:
Over the years, the Coalition has grown to include other mental health agencies, social service agencies and community leaders.
NAMHC has been instrumental in making great strides to mental health in North Alabama. In addition to getting the County and City to each fund a mental health case worker for the Madison County Jail, SVdP/NAMHC with the help of a grant from the Lowe Foundation, was able to open a 10-bed Jail Diversion Unit.
Over the years, Law Enforcement has played a major role in improving the plight of the Seriously Mentally Ill in North Alabama.
In 2018, Huntsville Police Department won a Grant from the Bureau of Justice/Valor Program, one of only four such grants awarded in the Nation, to train its Police Officers in Crisis Intervention (CIT). Over 50 Officers have been trained, and the program continues to expand. CIT Officers are already making a difference in the care and treatment of the seriously mentally ill. NAMHC us very proud and thankful for the partnership we have with Law Enforcement.
On October 29, 2020, Gov. Ivey announced that Huntsville would be awarded one of only three new Crisis Centers in the State of Alabama. This is a major achievement that we all have striven for over the last several years. Wellstone, formerly Madison County Mental Health Center, will run the center. The Crisis Center will have a total of 39 beds, and a tele-health triage unit staffed 24/7 to handle calls from Law Enforcement, hospitals, etc. Many thanks to Jeremy Blair and his staff at Wellstone for putting together the proposal to the State that won Huntsville the place for a Crisis Center.
The History of NAMHC is made up of so many stakeholders in our community have, and are, making a difference. We continue to meet, identify gaps in the system, and work toward solutions. We meet every 2ndTuesday at 11:00 am in the community room at Wellstone. The meetings are open to anyone who is concerned with the SMI and wishes to make a positive impact.
1. Develop trust and collaboration among all mental health stakeholders.
2. As a coalition, identify the greatest mental health needs in our community and work together to meet those needs.
1. Move every consumer toward his/her best outcome.
2. Improve access to care.
3. Insure appropriate treatment in appropriate time
4. There are ZERO Juvenile psychiatric beds in Madison County. Change this!
5. Change attitudes regarding mental health issues and eliminate stigma.
6. Decrease recidivism and probate case load.
7. Decrease occurrence of relapse.
Interview with local media: