MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As the conversation around our city, state and country focusing on gun control gets louder and louder following each tragic event it's obvious to us that those holding these weapons were in dire need of mental health services. Had additional services and programs been available to these people, maybe just maybe, a number of innocent victims would still be alive today.
Would it alarm you to know that Alabama's reduced funding for such mental health services was the 2nd largest reduction in the nation from 2009 to 2012?
According to a report released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Alabama's mental health services budget was cut by some 36% from 2009 to 2012 resulting in a $100 million dollar budget being reduced to only $64 million dollars by the end of 2012.
This funding is used primarily for children and adults living with serious mental illness. The cuts led to significant reductions in both hospital and community services for vulnerable individuals with serious mental illness according to this report.
Our position is this - you can't just focus on the weapon. Mental health services must be part of the dialogue as we identify solutions to reduce random acts of violence. If Alabama continues this trend of reducing budgets for such services we shouldn't be surprised when we experience more and more crimes committed by the mentally ill; something for the Governor and incoming Legislature to consider.