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WAMHC receives ‘Stepping Up’ grant

The West Alabama Mental Health Center will roll out its new Stepping Up Alabama project in early 2020 after receiving a $50,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Mental Health for support. The initiative aims to reduce the number individuals with a mental illness or substance abuse disorder in jail and the emergency room.

In order to fulfill the initiative’s purpose, WAMCH Executive Director Patricia Moore has hired a case manager who will lead a coalition to serve those individuals. They will connect community members with current services and work to close gaps in the needs of the county.

“One of the components that we’ve identified with anyone, if they’re incarcerated or even in the community, is they need housing, they need income, they need benefits and everything like that. Any of those services that individuals may need, we’re going to need to have as a part of our coalition,” Moore said.

The coalition will be formed by members of the community who may have contact with those in need, such as hospital administration or members of the Marengo County Sheriff’s Office. The coalition is expected to be formed in early 2020. The case manager and members of the coalition will also undergo training for the initiative.

The WAMHC is one of 11 centers in Alabama that received this grant in the past two years. Moore said the center is also looking at additional funding from local government officials.

“We hope to obtain enough to sustain the project. This is $50,000, but it’s not going to provide everything,” she said.

The benefits of this program listed by Alabama Department of Mental Health include an increase in treatment for individuals with mental illness, less strain on law enforcement and jails and healthier community members.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, December 18 issue of the Demopolis Times.)