Words by Elizabeth Williams | Image by Al Blanton
Last week the Walker County Commission, in conjunction with the Northwest Alabama Mental Health Center, issued a proclamation recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The proclamation calls on all Walker County citizens to “recommit our community to increasing awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and promoting appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental health illnesses.”
Mental well-being is an increasingly important issue in today’s society. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults suffer from mental health illnesses yearly, and one in six youths experience a mental health disorder yearly. It is crucial to recognize the significance of mental health and its impact on individuals and communities.
Established in 1969, Northwest is a comprehensive community mental health center that is dedicated to enriching lives through quality care. Its primary focus is addressing the behavioral health needs of individuals in the least restrictive setting possible. Serving children and adults across five counties, NWAMHC offers a wide range of programs and services, including outpatient care, day training, prevention initiatives, crisis intervention, residential programs, and inpatient treatment.
When asked about the importance of spreading awareness through initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Month, Northwest’s Director of Substance Abuse Services, Gwen Thomas-Leblanc, said “Those that suffer from mental health problems and have their symptoms treated generally struggle less in dealing with everyday life.”
This partnership between the Commission and Northwest helps make the community aware of the mental health services available to them locally.
Commission Chairman Steve Miller says, “by issuing this proclamation, the Commission hopes to take a significant step towards improving the mental health of our community.” WL