New brand, more patients, more funding for Mental Health Clinic of Madison County

Huntsville
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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) –  Executive Director Brian Davis of the Mental Health Center of Madison County was back in front of commissioners Wednesday.

A name change is in the works for the facility to attract more patients to get help. With more patients, the center hopes for more money to provide quality care.

During the last Madison County Commission meeting, Davis announced they facility will do business as ‘WellStone Behavioral Health‘. The registered name will stay as is, but leaders are working to re-brand the center as a whole.

“Research shows that two-thirds of the people who need help do not get it and the biggest reason is the stigma that comes along with seeking help,” Davis said. “We wanted a name and a brand that avoided as much as that stigma as we could, and just made it easier for people to get help when they need it.”

That name change starts October 1st, 2014.  If the re-branding has the effect they’re hoping for, that means they’ll need more care providers and more money to pay them.

County Commissioner Bob Harrison wholeheartedly supports the change. He said is could help keep mental patients out of county jails where many are currently housed, and costing us money.

“We know that rehabilitation is the alternative, Harrison said. “It’s certainly not for folks to be housed in jails, which costs $40 to $50 a day.”

If all goes well, the re-branding could help to save county dollars and human capital. However, the center will need some extra funds to cover the costs of extra patients.

The center does get an appropriation from the County Commission, the City of Huntsville and the City of Madison, but a little extra could go a long way.

“The dollars per person served continue to decline”, Davis said. “It’s actually half today of what it was ten years ago. That’s because the funding has stayed flat or decreased in some areas, while we have tried to stretch our resources further to serve more and more.”

Davis explained one in four people will have a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year. That means ten times the number the Mental Health Center of Madison County served this year.

“It makes it difficult to keep doing more and more and more, on less,” said Davis.

Without the proper resources, he said it will be harder to help those who come to them, especially if the re-branding has the effect they are hoping for.

Despite any name change or funding shortfall, the mental health center will continue to serve patients as a public, non-profit faciltiy.

That’s regardless of whether or not a patient can pay.