MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WSFA) – As violent crime continues to plague the country, Montgomery police have seen an increase in residents struggling with mental health issues.
“Mental health and mental crisis issues are on the rise,” said Montgomery Police Chief Darryl Albert. “We understand it’s a public health crisis.”
Mental illness, which can eventually develop into more serious problems such as crime, is very common.
Carastar Health, formerly known as the Montgomery Area Mental Health Service, says 1 in 5 people are affected.
said Donna Leslie, Executive Director of Carastar Health. “But if someone has mental illness and it escalates to that point, it can escalate quickly.”
That’s why mental health professionals want to fight and address stigma.
“So many people are suffering, but if you can reach out and get help, you don’t have to stay silent,” Leslie said.
Carastar Health recently launched a new 24-hour crisis center. An alternative sanctuary for those who would normally be rushed to the emergency room or arrested for mental health or behavioral problems.
In addition to providing resources at the center, Carastar Health experts are working with MPD to help respond to emergency calls.
Police have Crisis Intervention Teams with trained professionals on the scene.
“Then they work with us to try and soften it,” said Leslie.
A partnership to help law enforcement understand the mental health challenges that affect so many people.
“We will do everything we can to disseminate information and provide guidance to help people get to the right services they need,” said Albert.
Carastar Health and Alabama Department of Mental Health mental health resources are linked. You can also dial 988, the new National Crisis Hotline.
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