Tuscaloosa County’s Probate Judge shares concern over local mental health issues

Tuscaloosa County’s Probate Judge shares concern over local mental health issues

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Addressing the mental health concerns in Tuscaloosa County puts a strain on local resources.

Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Rob Robertson told members of the Tuscaloosa Exchange Club Thursday that more must be done to help people in the area with mental health problems.

He says more than ever, it’s up to local municipalities and others here locally to better address the problems they create.

“We have a coalition of the willing to try to make some new programs, some new approaches to solving as much as we can at the local level some of the frustrations we have with capacity in seeing the people get the treatment they need,” Robertson says.

Robertson, who also chairs the Tuscaloosa County Commission, says a reduction in state resources puts more of a burden locally to help people no longer under state care.

"The paramount issue revolves around capacity in mental health," Robertson added.

State run mental health facilities like Bryce Hospital are in Tuscaloosa.

But Robertson said there are fewer beds for patients now than in years past.

"Of course it comes through our county jail, and it comes into our office and people that are in dire situations," Robertson continued.

In June, Robertson announced several local police agencies have increased the number of law enforcement officers who are also qualified to be mental health officers.

They’re allowed to determine if someone who becomes involved in a police matter should get some form of mental health care rather than be arrested.

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