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Alabama elected officials, candidates sign pledge to advance mental health policy

The candidates pledge to increase availability of mental health services, expand youth mental health services and improve crisis response.

Mental health concept. File with a list of psychiatric disorders. 3D illustration

Nearly a dozen elected Alabama officials and candidates have signed a pledge to support mental health by increasing availability, expanding youth mental health services and improving crisis response.

The candidates signed a “Mental Health Now Statement of Support” provided by Inseparable, a national nonprofit promoting mental health policy.

“In the final month of campaigns this cycle, one thing is becoming clear, mental health is front of mind for Alabamians and candidates are getting serious about real solutions” said Inseparable founder Bill Smith. “I love seeing my home state being a leader. The Alabama legislature has passed solid mental health legislation and there is more they can do in partnership with Gov. Ivey.”

In August alone, there were 2,774 calls received by the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline with an 71 percent answer rate. In Alabama, there are an estimated 34,000 children with major depression who do not receive treatment.

The launch of the Mental Health Now Campaign comes on the heels of Inseparable’s launch of a State Legislative Mental Health Caucus. The new caucus will serve as a space for legislators to keep up with the latest legislative trends in mental health, get access to experts in the field and timely updates, and learn from one another. The caucus has 111 state legislators from 36 states – 30 Republicans, 80 Democrats and an Independent.

A poll commissioned by Inseparable found broad national support for the expansion of mental health services, including access to telehealth and equipping doctors to diagnose and treat mental illness. The poll found 90 percent of Americans support health plans covering mental health at the same level as physical health.

  • Danny A. McCullars, candidate for State Senate
  • Sherri Reese, candidate for State Senate
  • Richard Benderson, candidate for State Senate
  • State Rep. Charlotte Meadows
  • State Rep. Anthony Daniels 
  • State Rep. Laura Hall
  • State Rep. Kenyatte Hassell
  • Samuel Adams, Esq., candidate for State House 
  • Phillip Ensler, candidate for State House 
  • Frances Holk-Jones, candidate for State House
  • Marilyn Lands, candidate for State House

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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