Fundraiser supplements mental health for locals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Think more than a quarter of a million – 254,495 to be exact..

That’s the number of mental health services delivered through South Central Alabama Mental Health in 2014.

Lil Jimmy Reed

Lil Jimmy Reed

Staci Wilson of SCAMH said those services were provided to 5,000 clients in Covington, Butler, Crenshaw and Coffee counties.

That was a staggering 16 percent increase over 2013 numbers, she said.

Wilson said she feels the increase is due to the fact that the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse is decreasing.

“People are realizing that it’s OK,” she said. “None of us are immune to any type of mental health and substance abuse. A lot of people are finally learning that, and are coming to us for help.”

State mental health has seen drastic decreases in state funding since 2009.

In fact, the agency was cut by $40 million, or 36 percent, from 2009-2012, but was levelly funded for the last few fiscal years.

With funding down and the client-base up, SCAMH relies on community donations.

“As you know, financial support is extremely important to our organization, and we rely on donations to provide these services to the community,” Wilson said.

The largest fundraiser of the year – Communities Caring 2015 – is slated for March 14, at the Kiwanis Community Center.

This year’s theme is Mardi Gras – Laizzez les bon temps rouler!

Wilson said this year’s goal is to raise $25,000, but so far only $8,000 has been raised.

“We definitely depend on this to help provide treatment and supplement some of our services,” she said.

Entertainment will be from Little Jimmy Reed, a blues musician.

Menu for the night will be seafood gumbo.

An auction will be held, as well.

Highlighted items on the auction floor will be a seven-day beach getaway; tickets to Toadlick Music Festival; tickets to Talladega; a Wind Creek package; Weber grill; a leather chair; autographed footballs and pictures of Nick Saban; trips to Six Flags and Wild Adventures and more.

Donations are still needed, Wilson said.

Tickets to the event are $15 each or two for $25.

Credit or debit cards are accepted over the phone.

Dinner and entertainment begin at 5:30 p.m.

Call 334-428-5050 for more info.