Mental Health Summit Brings Together State and Local Officials
01.16.18A Day to Discover What Community Mental Health Should Look Like
On January 11, 2018, a couple of blocks from the state capital in Birmingham, Alabama, a coalition of state groups, led by the National Alliance on Mental Illness - Alabama (NAMI-AL), presented the face of effective community mental health. The event, coordinated by RKC partner Jimmy Walsh, brought together a wide range of government officials, law enforcement, and mental health professionals and was a huge success.
“Our goal is to create a partnership between state and local officials to build a system that better serves the 20 percent of citizens impacted by mental health issues on a daily basis,” said Walsh.
RKC Partner Jimmy Walsh serves on the NAMI-AL board as "Ex-Officio" and coordinated the event.
“We need a system that provides effective crisis, long term treatment and sustained care, proper housing, and law enforcement that understands and interacts effectively with those in crisis,” he continued.“We need a system that provides effective crisis, long term treatment and sustained care, proper housing, and law enforcement that understands and interacts effectively with those in crisis,” he continued.
During the event, Judge Steve Leifman from Miami-Dade provided details of Miami’s success. In addition, Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon and Alabama State Senate President Pro Tempore Adelbert C. "Del" Marsh both spoke briefly and expressed support of an increase in mental health spending of $13.2 million. Lynn Beshear, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, also expressed support and attended the summit.
Walsh was first introduced to NAMI nearly 20 years ago. Having a sibling and son both struggle with mental illness, Walsh admits that during his son’s crisis periods, there were days so devastating that he’s quite certain he couldn’t have navigated without NAMI.
Because of this experience, Walsh is committed to serving and advocating on behalf of NAMI-AL. He is an active member of the Birmingham affiliate and the NAMI-AL Board. He has served on the NAMI-AL executive committee for more than 10 years in a variety of roles including four separate one-year terms as president. He currently serves in the role of Ex-Officio.
“Mental illness is really misunderstood throughout our communities. When people who are afflicted have support and the proper care, they can become productive citizens and live normal lives,” he said
To learn more about NAMI-AL, visit http://www.namialabama.org/.