Alabama Crisis System of Care


No individual is immune from the impact of untreated behavioral health needs. Each year, there are thousands of preventable tragedies that may be addressed with proper mental health resources and access to care. In our communities, jails and hospitals are often the first entry point for an individual in need.

 

Currently, without a coordinated crisis system of care in Alabama, individuals in a mental health or substance use disorder crisis often have encounters with police officers, first responders, hospital emergency room staff, or end up in correctional facilities, without getting the proper treatment and diagnosis needed.

 

The Alabama Crisis System of Care:

  • Expands access to crisis services
  • Maximizes opportunities for the behavioral health workforce
  • Reduces the number of hospitalizations and arrests
  • Decreases frequency of admissions to hospitals
  • Assists individuals in crisis to achieve stability
  • Promotes sustained recovery
  • Provides connections and referrals to community agencies and organizations, psychiatric and medical services, prevention, and intervention services

 

ADMH thanks Governor Ivey and legislative investment, which helps to expand and transform the Alabama crisis system of care, dramatically lower healthcare costs, reinvest state dollars, achieve better health outcomes, and improve life for those with acute mental health needs.

 

To address these needs, the Alabama Department of Mental Health has begun the journey to a Alabama Crisis System of Care, which will provide a systemic approach to crisis care that saves lives and dollars: Accessible, Interconnect, Effective, and Just.

 

Stepping Up Alabama is an integral part of the Alabama crisis system of care. Stepping Up is a national initiative designed to reduce the number of people who have mental illnesses in jails and hospital emergency departments. To learn more about Stepping Up Alabama, its components, and progress, please visit Stepping Up Alabama.

Crisis Diversion Centers


ADMH received $18 million for Fiscal Year 2021, to establish and stand up the first pilot Crisis Diversion Centers in the state. These centers will be a designated place for communities, law enforcement, first responders, and hospitals to take an individual that is in mental health or substance abuse crisis.  At the center, the individual could receive stabilization, evaluation, and psychiatric services.

 

The providers and locations of the first three crisis centers are AltaPointe Health in Mobile, the Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority, and WellStone Behavioral Health in Huntsville. The expected date of full implementation is May 2021.

 

These centers will:

  • Reduce the number of hospitalizations and arrests
  • Reduce the frequency of admissions to hospitals
  • Help individuals in crisis achieve stability
  • Achieve sustained recovery and provide linkage to community agencies and organizations, psychiatric and medical services, crisis prevention, and intervention services.

 

ADMH thanks Governor Ivey and legislative investment, which will help to transform the crisis system of care, dramatically lower healthcare costs, reinvest those dollars to better the quality of life, achieve better health outcomes, and improve life for those with acute mental health needs.

Rural Crisis Programs


The goals for rural crisis programs are aligned with the overarching goals of crisis care, which are to reduce the burden on EDs/Hospitals, reduce burden on Law Enforcement/Jails, and improve access for the “right care, right time, right place.”

 

In Fiscal Year 2021, five community mental health centers across the state received funding to increase their crisis care services:

  • Cahaba Center for Mental Health
  • Northwest Alabama Mental Health Center
  • Southwest Alabama Behavioral Health Care Systems
  • WellStone Behavioral Health (Cullman)
  • West Alabama Mental Health Center

 

Each center has chosen to build a mobile crisis unit into their services. The community mental health centers may also include in their crisis services: a co-response with law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, crisis peer support, crisis case management, regional call centers, and respite options.