Steven K. Griffith Committee members, advisors

Steven K. Griffith Committee members and advisors with one of the newly designed R.E. Garrison Trucking Inc. trucks to promote the goals of Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund. Pictured, from left, are Shay Persall, Charna Brown, Steve Donaldson, Dr. Tom “Big Doc” Williamson, Steve Glasscock and Shawn Nelson. Not pictured are Fess St. John and Jeb Williamson.

The Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund has been established to honor the memory of Stephen K. Griffith and to expand mental health services in Cullman County.

The fund was established in June of 2018 by Steve’s wife Jackie, son Wyles (Brandy) Griffith, and daughter, Sarah Frances (Donovon) Lovell. Steve was killed on July 17, 2017 by a man who has a history of mental health issues, according to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office.

Through this fund, the Griffith family hopes to raise mental health awareness and fill the gap in services available in the community, especially among the indigent population.

“The goal of the Fund is to assist Cullman County citizens who are struggling with mental illness and are unable to afford mental health treatment,” said fund committee member Steve Glasscock.

Joining Glasscock on the volunteer committee are Steve Donaldson, Shawn Nelson, Shay Persall, and Dr. Tom “Big Doc” Williamson. Committee advisors are Charna Brown, RN, medical advisor; Fess St. John, legal advisor; and Jeb Williamson, accounting advisor.

"At Cullman Regional, we are consistently working to provide the best care we can for the patients coming to us. Unfortunately for mental health patients, the resources available, particularly for those without insurance, are limited,” said Brown, Cullman Regional's Chief Nursing Officer.

“In 2018, Cullman Regional's emergency department provided medical care to more than 1,000 behavioral health patients. Many of these patients return for additional care due to the lack of resources available to provide adequate on-going follow-up treatment. The Stephen K. Griffith Foundation is working closely with Cullman Regional in order to make sure patients who need behavioral health care have access to the care they need.”

Several fundraisers are planned to support the fund throughout the year. Donations are welcome in any amount. Contributions can be mailed to: The Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund, PO Box 1544, Cullman, AL 35056-1544 (EIN: 83-2471932).

For more information, call Meagan Tucker at 256-255-5547.

The fund is administered through Garrison Gives Hope, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. All donations are tax deductible as allowable by the IRS.

2017 Alabama Mental Health Statistics

106,740 people sought treatment for mental illness in Alabama

The State of Alabama only has 2,775 inpatient psychiatric treatment beds available throughout the state, many of which will not accept patients without insurance. State facilities, which typically are the only facilities that treat the uninsured, only treated 857 patients in 2017.

According the Mental Health American, 2017 State Mental Health Access Data:

On average, 21% of adults with mental illness in Alabama are uninsured. Statistically speaking, that means more than 20,000 people did not receive adequate inpatient treatment.

Alabama ranks 50 out of 51 for access to mental health services for patients.

Source: Alabama Department of Mental Health 2017 Annual Report

2018 Cullman County Mental Health Statistics

1,027 people sought mental health treatment in Cullman Regional’s Emergency Department in 2018.

Nearly 30% of patients seeking treatment were unable to obtain care due to lack of insurance or inability to pay for care.

“These numbers are indeed startling; however, what’s even more startling,” Steve Glasscock, the Fund representative said, “Is that these are just the people who are seeking care or have been mandated to receive care.”

According to the Mental Health America 2017 State Mental Health Access data, 54% of adults (382,000) with mental illness in Alabama did not receive treatment in 2017.

Source: Cullman Regional

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