Youth mental health is a growing concern in Alabama

Mental health issues in adolescents are a growing concern in Alabama.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 11:18 PM EST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Mental health in youth is not a new concept, but there have been new stressors that trigger anxiety and depression.

“There have been some recent studies that have linked social media use to adolescent mental health issues like depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield, a medical officer at the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Signs of mental health issues include anger outbursts, feelings of sadness and hopelessness, changes in diet and weight, social isolation and trouble concentrating.

The symptoms may overlap with other disorders, which is why Stubblefield recommends parents have an open discussion about mental health and think about how they can get the help their children need.

The health officer mentioned schools can also get involved if they notice any changes in students in the classroom.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health has resources available to youth in school and in the community.

Ninety school systems in the state have active school-based mental health collaborations with the department that serve on average 10,000 students every school year.

According to the Alabama Department of Mental Health, 29,345 children were served by certified mental health providers from the department in fiscal year 2022.

If there is a mental health, substance abuse or suicide crisis, people can dial 988 to be connected with services to resolve crises.

Individuals and families can also visit a crisis center near them at the following locations (some to be opened in the upcoming months):

  • AltaPointe Health: The Behavioral Health Crisis Center located in Mobile County and serves Baldwin, Washington, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe Counties. The phone number for AltaPointe Behavioral Health Crisis Center is 251-450-2211.
  • Carastar Health (formerly MAMHA): Montgomery, but serves the entire River Region, and the counties of Chambers, Lee, Russell, and Tallapoosa, in partnership with the community mental health centers of east Alabama and east central Alabama. Mobile Crisis Services are in operation, in conjunction with law enforcement and first responder partnerships. The phone number for the Carastar Health Crisis Center is 1-800-408-4197.
  • The WellStone Emergency Services Crisis Center: Huntsville serving Cullman and Madison counties, and the surrounding counties of Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, Winston, Lawrence, Limestone, Morgan, Jackson, Marshall, Cherokee, DeKalb and Etowah. Mobile Crisis Services are in operation, in conjunction with law enforcement and first responder partnerships. The phone number for WellStone Emergency Services Crisis Center is 256-705-6444.
  • Jefferson, Blount, St. Clair Behavioral Services: The Richard Craig Crisis Care Center is scheduled to open February 2023
  • Indian Rivers Behavioral Health: The center will be located in Tuscaloosa County serving Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Pickens, Perry, Dallas, Wilcox, Hale, Sumter, Greene, Marengo and Choctaw. The Hope Pointe Behavioral Health Crisis Center is scheduled to begin providing services in March 2023 at a temporary location. Contact information will be shared soon including the address, phone number and website.
  • SpectraCare Health Systems: Dothan location to be opened summer 2023. More information on counties served and contact information for the Crisis Center will be posted when designated.

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