Madison Co. could be getting its first mental health treatment center for youth

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 5:24 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Each year, 800 children are transported out of Madison County to get the mental health help they need.

That’s why a state representative for North Alabama is proposing money in the general fund to build a crisis center for youth. Amanda Powell tells WAFF she believes her mom would still be alive today if her son was given the mental health care he needed.

Last June Aaron Brown was charged with stabbing and killing his grandmother. His mother, Amanda Powell tells us before the tragedy she tried to get him into Decatur West but was told there was no room for him.

“Mental health is not something to play with and there should be beds for whoever needs them. They shouldn’t have to go to Birmingham or somewhere else, they should be able to stay local and be close to their families.,” Powell said.

State Representative Rex Reynolds tells WAFF he’s expecting the state legislature to approve millions of dollars to address this gap in mental health care for children. The money will be used to build the first inpatient mental health care center for children in Madison County.

“I’m hearing stories where HEMSI is transporting juveniles down to the Mobile area we just got to be better than that,” Rep. Reynolds said.

If passed in the general budget, $5 million will go to building a wing onto the new 24 hour Wellstone Crisis Intervention Center.

Wellstone CEO Jeremy Blair says this will be the only inpatient mental health treatment facility in Madison County.

“When an emergency occurs, it doesn’t need to be a response of, ‘I’m sorry we’re full,’ so we need to figure out a way to be able to take care of our families in our area to make sure that they’re getting the help,” Blair said.

Rep. Renyolds expects this to be discussed in session Wednesday.

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