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Fundraising event to benefit mental health initiative

Special to the Enquirer  

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with multiple agencies to continue to address mental health issues in the area through the Stepping Up Initiative. 

The MCSO announced its inaugural fundraising event that will be held Feb. 21 at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur. All monies raised will benefit the program.  

 “The results to date, show what a critical need this initiative is for our area with a staggering 46 percent of inmates with some type of diagnosed mental illness,” Public Information Officer Mike Swafford said.  

 According to information provided by the MCSO, the program exists to keep individuals with a serious mental illness from unnecessarily reentering the Morgan County Jail or using the hospital emergency rooms for psychiatric services. Incarcerated individuals are offered a mental health assessment and connected with services via the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama. Inmates continue to receive services for the duration of their sentence. Upon release, these individuals are encouraged to continue receiving treatment to help break the reoffending cycle. Making these connections while the individual is in custody because relationships and habits are created making it a priority after release. The MCSO said that those who continue treatment with the Stepping UP Initiative only have a 6 percent rate of being rebooked into Morgan County Jail. 

Event sponsors include State Representative Scott Stadthagen, Morgan County Sherriff Ron Puckett, the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama, Foundation for Mental Health, Decatur Morgan Hospital and the Junior League of Morgan County  

With your support, we hope to help our fellow citizens who are struggling with mental health as well as protect our community at large with safe, well-adjusted citizens,” the press release continued. Your support helps us keep The Stepping Up Initiative of North Central Alabama a vibrant program that benefits everyone in the community.”  

Attendees of this inaugural event will hear success stories from Stepping UP, entertainment featuring Trick Zipper and catering by JW’s Steakhouse. Tickets and sponsorships for this event are still available at the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, online at MHCNCA.org or by calling the Foundation for Mental Health at (256) 260-7325.