PREVIEW: The Mental Health Crisis in Jails

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The Mental Health Crisis in Jail: A presentation and panel discussion will take place Tuesday, April 25 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in the Willard Auditorium of the DCH Regional Medical Center.

Camille Studebaker

In order to raise awareness about mental health in jails, the College of Community Health Sciences is hosting a presentation and panel discussion about the topic today.

The speakers at the event will be Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Chief Psychiatrist for the Tuscaloosa County Jail Marisa Giggie, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy and M. Bradley Almond, presiding judge of Tuscaloosa’s Mental Health Court, according to the University.

Leslie Zganjar, director of Communications and Community Relations for the College of Community Health Sciences, said this issue impacts the local community due to overcrowding at jails and financial concerns.

“If people are being booked into jail and not getting the mental health care that they might need, then there’s a chance that, once they’re released, they could end up back in jail,” she said. “It becomes a cycle that’s not good for the person, and it’s not good for the community and it’s not good for the city’s finances.”

WHO: Open to the public

WHAT: The Mental Health Crisis in Jail: A presentation and panel discussion

WHEN: Tuesday, April 25 from 12:15-1:15 p.m.

WHERE: Willard Auditorium DCH Regional Medical Center

WHY: “Well I think it’s because this is not only an issue that Tuscaloosa is dealing with, but it’s an issue across the country,” Zganjar said. “And according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, there are more than two million people with mental illnesses who are booked into jails every year. And so this presentation and panel discussion is a way to bring attention to this issue and to try to find out ways to alleviate some of these issues. You know, to try to find ways to help get mental health care to people who are booked into jail who need this type of care.”