Madison County Addressing Mental Health in Judicial Issues


Credit to Pixabay for the image

Anaya Chambers, Writer

Madison County Probate Court has established a new program here in Huntsville that will operate as an assisted outpatient treatment center for those who suffer from mental illness, according to WAFF48.

This program has been put in place specifically to help those who are affected by mental illness that causes these people to have run-ins with the law. Madison County Probate Court, Judge Frank Barger, and Wellstone Behavioral Health banded together to build up this program for the affected citizens of Madison County.  

Patients will be required to meet every month to talk to therapists, case managers, and anyone else necessary to assist those patients with their mental health. Aaliyah Coe, a junior here at Bob Jones stated, “It’s great that they are reaching out and taking action for those with mental illness.” This is true, especially since according to NAMI, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1 in 25 U.S. adults are affected by mental illness. In addition, the Treatment Advocacy Center reports that approximately 20% of inmates in jails suffer from mental illness. Establishing this type of program could be beneficial to both Madison and Huntsville, and the surrounding communities. 

The purpose of this program seems to act as another option for those who have had previous problems with law enforcement because of their mental illness. Having another option available will keep these individuals out of jail for something they cannot control; however, some students here at Bob Jones are questioning whether this program will be different from the many others that are available. Madison Carter, a sophomore, stated, “Unless they make it seem more like a safe space, then I don’t think it would be beneficial to society.” A senior, Michael McGinley, believed, “It [the program] sounds like a good idea if they actually do a good job setting it up.” Both are great points: if this program is flushed out properly, there could be a chance that it benefits the community greatly, or it could end up not doing anything for those who are impacted.

Whether or not people think this will pan out or not cannot be predicted just yet. The program is currently up and running at Huntsville Hospital, and any person wondering if they can participate in this program should be able to contact their attorney to find out.