Outgoing probate judge in Marshall County believes mental illness is a crisis in Alabama

Outgoing probate judge in Marshall County believes mental illness is a crisis in Alabama

GUNTERSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Marshall County’s probate judge is retiring after 30 years.

He sees help for mental illness in the state at a crisis level.

Outgoing Probate Judge Tim Mitchell says that the mental health concerns in this state have reached a crisis level and he feels that members of the general public are at risk.

“This individual thought his brother was a lizard and he stuck a sword through his head,” said Mitchell.

It’s people who think like that Mitchell comes into contact with in his office.

Sad part, since the state closed it's mental health facilities that number is growing.

“We’ve gone from 50 petitions a year to like 110 a year. It doubled,” said Mitchell.

Marshall and two other counties share a facility now with just 16 beds. That causes problems for the local sheriff's office who now drive statewide to find beds to put these people.

“Sometimes we can’t find a bed to put them in. So what do you do? They’re out here in the community,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell says that can be a big problem.

“They’re a danger to themselves or other individuals,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell would like to see the state step up in dealing with these individuals.

“They need to figure out a way to raise money to treat the mentally ill in our state,” said Mitchell.

A retirement reception for Mitchell was held Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. at the Guntersville Senior Center.

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