Mental healthcare providers hold meeting on proposed budget cuts

Mental healthcare providers hold meeting on proposed budget cuts

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - How will local mental healthcare providers be affected if Governor Bentley's proposed cuts happen?

Monday, two local providers hosted a town hall meeting to address the issue.

The proposed cuts show that the Department of Mental Health will reduce or end service for 24,000 people with mental illnesses.

We have received dozens of calls, Facebook messages and emails from people saying their doctors have already told them they need to start looking for other options.

The Arc of Madison County and WellStone Behavioral Health hosted Monday's public meeting at the Huntsville-Madison County Library to a packed house.

These two are local providers of community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities or mental health disorders.

Talks of drastic budget cuts are last thing mental health providers, who've already taken a hit, want to hear. They've downsized, laid off employees, and cut programs throughout the years.

"We've gotten to the point where we can't do that anymore, and we've got to make sure legislators are aware of that," said Susan Klingel of Arc of Madison County.

Several people said Monday they'd be willing to pick up the slack if necessary.

"We don't like think of raising taxes, but I do think that we're going to have to do that," said Jim Reeder, who has a family member who suffers from mental illness.

Representative Laura Hall of District 19 attended the town hall and assured her constituents that she is listening.

"They want us to look for some resources, they need our assistance. Now, how that's going to happen, what's going to occur, that's another story, but at least this gives me something to work from and to work on."

For more on The Arc you can click here. More information on WellStone can be found here.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved.