County commissioner speaks on importance of mental health board

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — The Madison County Commission currently has open spots on the Huntsville-Madison County mental health board, that they’re hoping to fill with the right person.

“If you can imagine that nationwide, one out of four individuals are medically diagnosed as mentally ill. That’s diagnosed,” said District Six County Commissioner Bob Harrison.

Commissioner Harrison said that means there’s still a lot of work to be done, which is where the Huntsville-Madison County mental health board comes in

“It’s much more practical, much more reasonable for us to approach mental illness as a disease, or medical issue, rather than a criminal issue,” he explained.

Harrison said mental illness is just like any other illness. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the chances. That’s why he stresses the importance of reaching students.

“These kinds of things become exacerbated in time, and become much worse off as adults. So the sooner that we can get to them, and resolve them, the better off we’ll be,” he said.

He said the mental health board has a lot of outreach programs, but there’s always more to be done.

“As most of our agencies are, everybody’s got high expectations of what we want them to do,” he explained.

High expectations despite the very limited resources they’re provided. But with that, Commissioner Harrison said they still do an outstanding job.