Elected officials, candidates sign mental health policy pledge

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - There is a new nationwide campaign that calls for improved mental health care policies across the country. In Alabama, a handful of elected leaders and candidates signed the Mental Health Now campaign, affirming their support for this movement.

The campaign started from the mental health organization Inseparable, founded by Alabama native, Bill Smith.

“We all have mental health, and it’s an issue that impacts all of our families,” said Smith. “We started inseparable with a simple premise that the health of our minds can’t be separated from the health of our bodies.”

The organization advocates for more mental health policies which start with elected officials. They’re asking candidates to sign a pledge that supports:

  • Increase the availability of mental health care
  • Promote wellness and early intervention
  • Improve crisis response for anyone experiencing a mental health emergency

“A family who was having a mental health crisis, their son was about 33, probably similar age to my children and it was a very eye-opening experience,” said Rep. Charlotte Meadows.

Meadows says during a ride along with a local police department, she realized how many law enforcement problems stem from mental health issues and that legislators are working to improve them.

“The last several years was a good bit of mental health awareness, in legislation for mental health counseling, making sure that every school and the school system has a mental health coordinator,” said Meadows.

And with less than a month until the midterm election, the creators of the campaign say they are starting a conversation between politicians and the public to show that mental health is a bipartisan issue everyone can agree on.

“Alabama’s elected officials are already talking about this issue. But we launched the campaign because we want people across the country to be talking about this issue. It impacts everyone,” said Smith.

Meadows’ opponent Phillip Ensler also signed this campaign. Other signees include:

  • Danny A. McCullars, candidate for State Senate
  • Sherri Reese, candidate for State Senate
  • Richard Benderson, candidate for State Senate
  • State Rep. Anthony Daniels
  • State Rep. Laura Hall
  • State Rep. Kenyatte Hassell
  • Samuel Adams, Esq., candidate for State House
  • Frances Holk-Jones, candidate for State House
  • Marilyn Lands, candidate for State House

Alabamians can get involved by asking their elected officials to join the pledge.

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