Marchers descend on Shoals legislative office asking for more funding

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – An effort to bring adequate funding to mental health services took to the streets Wednesday morning.

From the parking lot of the Lauderdale County Courthouse to the Alabama legislative office, dozens braved the hot temperatures Wednesday to have their voices heard.

Organizers of the march say the lack of increased state funding is taking its toll on mental health services.

SCOPE 310 Executive Director Arvy Dupuy believes if people understood what their individuals deal with on a daily basis, support would grow.

“They keep talking about level funding and we understand what they are saying. They’re trying to get us the same amount of dollars that we had last year and the year before and the year before,” Dupuy explained. “The problem is our costs are not fixed.”

Dupuy said the state-wide numbers for people asking for services is staggering.

More than 3,000 people across the state are on a waiting list to get mental health services. At least 150 of those are from northwest Alabama.

Marchers left shoes on the lawn of the state legislative office to represent those who need help.

“They’re more than numbers,” stated Dupuy. “Those are real people with real stories, real situations and everyone matters. It’s a heartbreaking thing when you tell them I believe your story, I hear your story, but I’m sorry I can’t do anything to help you.”

Dupuy hopes by putting pressure on the state legislators funding could increase for the first time since 1997.