News Article Details

Gudger, Shedd recognized by mental health organization

Cullman Times - 3/10/2020

Mar. 10--Cullman state Senator Garlan Gudger and Rep. Randall Shedd were named "Legislators of the Year" by the Alabama affiliate of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The two sponsored bills in the senate and the house to help expedite the process for people who are living with a mental illness who had been committed to outpatient services for 150 days obtain a quicker review through the probate courts so that they can receive the services they need in a timely manner.

On June 6, 2019 Governor Kay Ivey signed off on SB-246 to "provide that the probate court issue a renewal of an involuntary commitment order for treatment of a mentally ill person if it finds, after a hearing, that the person is in need of further care." Details of the bill can be found on the Secretary of State's website at arc-sos.state.al.us/ucp/B19157AA.AK2.pdf.

This bill is also what sparked the focus of the Alabama State Legislature on the 2020 Mental Health package announced by the Senate Majority Leader last week.

On Thursday, Graham Champion, a volunteer lobbyist for NAMI, presented the award to both legislators. "They have provided an avenue for people with a mental illness to get the services they need in a timely manner," he said. "Their support of people living with a mental illness is greatly appreciated."

"It's very humbling to be recognized on this important issue," said Shedd in a statement. "Even better news about mental health will be coming this year!"

Shedd is referring to the five-piece package of legislation that House Majority Leader Nathan Ledbetter announced last week. Shedd and Gudger both carried resolutions to their respective chambers to establish three Mental Health Crisis Centers in Alabama that the sate will be funding for a total of 18 million dollars. The other four pieces will aid in other areas of mental health services provided around the state.

"Mental Illness is an epidemic throughout the state this is now getting the funding and the attention, it desperately deserves," said Gudger in a statement. "This is just the beginning and I look forward to creating a better Alabama for individuals who live with this illness and their families."

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(c)2020 The Cullman Times (Cullman, Ala.)

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