Our view: Brantley, community will benefit from new mental health center

Published 9:15 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022

Finding ways to address mental health concerns and ensure the needs of the general public are being met have become hot-button issues impacting our country in recent years.

While the new mental health crisis diversion center in Brantley, operated by the South Central Alabama Mental Health Center, is set to bring 60-plus jobs and be an obvious boon to the local economy, arguably the biggest impact felt by this new addition will be having a local facility outfitted to handle situations where someone having a mental health crisis can get much-needed help without having to go as far as Montgomery to do so.

With medical professionals in close proximity, it helps alleviate pressure for local first responders in potentially-tense situations that, in other areas of our nation, have led to unnecessary violence or tragedies.

When those tools are available, it can help prevent a mental health crisis from escalating into something worse. Deescalating a crisis, then transporting the individual or individuals to a location where care can be administered is a more palatable option than the crisis escalating into a situation where it costs individuals their lives or livelihood.

This addition was a great start, but more must be done collectively within our communities to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues. You never know what other people may be struggling to handle, the burden being carried by them, or the expectations on their shoulders.

Be cognizant of the people around you, and if you see someone struggling, don’t be afraid to ask how you can help. If you’re not able to help them, point them in the direction of someone who can. Let them know it’s OK to not be OK.

We’re glad to see a new means of addressing mental health issues added to our local community toolbox, and we hope we all, as a community, can partner together to tackle mental health issues.