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Wellness Wednesday: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The theme this year is 'Being Together for Mental Health'.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Recently, Governor Kay Ivey approved two more mental health crisis centers for the state of Alabama. With these two additional facilities and current resources that state has to offer, is this enough for our residents?

The two new centers add to the four existing centers in Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile, currently serving individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders at staged levels of care.  

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A research analyst reached out to FOX54 with some powerful numbers that may be concerning.

"Alabama does not have good access to mental health services statewide," said research analyst Nick VinZant.

Statewide, there are 800,000 Alabamians that have a mental illness. 

Alabama ranks 49 our of 50 states when it comes to access to mental health care.

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I brought these numbers to a local doctor, who wasn't surprised by the results.

Dr.Senthil says, "The main reason for this issue is because of one major factor is accessibility and short staff in facilities the state does have.

One barrier to accessing mental health resources may be the lack of health insurance.

"Not having health insurance makes accessing help much harder," said VinZant.

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Alabama has the highest percentage of residents without health insurance in the nation.

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Mississippi's population is about the same size and has more than 30 mental health facilities. 

But, Dr.Senthil is optimistic and calls it a "work in progress".

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