News Article Details

Decatur nurse wants more funding for mental health

Decatur Daily - 2/26/2019

Feb. 26-- Feb. 26--HARTSELLE -- If given the power to make any change in Alabama, Allison Ballesteros said she would make more resources available for mental health.

The registered nurse who works at Priceville Primary Care said it can take months to get a person treatment for mental issues.

"I've had this problem in my family," she said. "When you're in a crisis, you don't have months to wait."

Mental health advocates have said services have been underfunded for years.

State officials cut more than 30 percent from the mental health budget between 2009 and 2012, according to a National Alliance on Mental Illness report, and closed several state-run psychiatric hospitals, including North Alabama Regional Hospital.

Ballesteros and her husband, a retired Decatur police officer, have been married and lived in the area 17 years. She planned to attend medical school when she graduated high school in 1996, but left college after one year at the University of North Alabama.

Ballesteros never lost her love to help others, though.

While working as a unit secretary and nursing secretary at the emergency room at Decatur General Hospital, co-workers encouraged Ballesteros to attend nursing school.

In 2001, she received her degree in nursing from Calhoun Community College.

"I'm glad I became a nurse instead of a doctor because of the relationships I have with patients," Ballesteros said.

She said she loves living in Alabama because of its people and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. -- deangelo@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2469. Twitter @DD_Deangelo.

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(c)2019 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.)

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