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.
Currently, without a coordinated crisis system of care in Alabama, individuals in a mental health or substance use disorder crisis are placed in jails or hospitals, neither of which can provide them with the acute services they need.
The Alabama Crisis System of Care:
- Diverts more individuals from civil commitments
- Expands access to care
- Offers additional levels of care to individuals in need of mental health care
- Reduces the number of arrests
- Decreases frequency of admissions to hospital emergency departments
- Assists individuals in crisis to achieve stability
- Promotes sustained recovery
- Offers the right care, at the right time, at the right place
Gov. Kay Ivey, the Alabama State Legislature, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health have funded three Crisis Centers which are offering services in staged levels. These centers improve access to behavioral healthcare services for individuals who are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis, and they aid jails and hospitals throughout the state by alleviating their burden to house and care for these individuals.
The Crisis Centers will be individualized to the unique needs of the communities they serve. They are located at the community mental health centers in Mobile, Montgomery, and Huntsville:
- AltaPointe Health: The Behavioral Health Crisis Center will be located Mobile County and will serve Baldwin, Washington, Clark, Conecuh, Escambia, and Monroe Counties. Click here for information on the center. The phone number for Behavioral Health Crisis Center is (251) 450-2211.
- Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority: This center will have a regional approach, with the center based in Montgomery, serving the entire River Region, and the counties of Chambers, Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa, in partnership with the community mental health centers of East Alabama and East Central Alabama. The phone number for the Crisis Center is (334) 279-7830.
- WellStone Behavioral Health: This center will be located in Huntsville serving Cullman and Madison counties, and the surrounding counties of Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, Winston, Lawrence, Limestone, Morgan, Jackson, Marshall, Cherokee, Dekalb and Etowah. The phone number for WellStone Emergency Services Crisis Center is (256) 734-4688.
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.
In addition to creating Crisis Centers, the new Alabama Crisis System of Care includes Rural Crisis programs throughout the state. 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.
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.