Mental Health Board loses founding member

Published 10:06 pm Friday, April 8, 2011

Dear Editor,

Mental Health Board of Chilton and Shelby Counties member Carrie Gray passed away Feb. 8. Ms. Gray was one of the founding volunteer Board members of the organization appointed by the Chilton County Commission.

She served the citizens of Chilton County on the Steering Committee in 1972 as they made plans to organize the development of the Mental Health 310 Board of Chilton and Shelby Counties The Mental Health Board was incorporated in 1974. Ms. Gray helped to carry out the mission of the Board and served on the Board for 39 years.

The mission of the Board continues to be the commitment to provide the highest quality of behavioral healthcare services to residents of Chilton and Shelby Counties whose lives are impacted by mental illness, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse and/or emotional disturbance.

The goal is to assist these individuals in their recovery process. Program success of individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and substance abuse will be evidenced by improvements in social functioning, independent living functions and absence of or reduction in intensity and/or frequency of symptoms. The Board will strive to provide easy access to services that are medically necessary, clinically appropriate, effective, efficient and safe, as resources are available. The services will be delivered in the least restrictive environment that maintains safety, produces optimal clinical outcomes, results in high consumer satisfaction and increases the clinical proficiency of staff.

Since 1972, the overall mission has been to strive towards “Helping others to help themselves.” Ms. Gray was an example of someone who helped others to help themselves in all aspects of her life but especially in her service to Chilton Shelby Mental Health. She served as the President of the Board in 1986 and served and chaired various committees until her death.

In 1991, in honor of her dedication and service to the citizens of Chilton and Shelby Counties who suffer from intellectual disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse, the Board named its new Intellectual Disabilities Residential Group Home located at 738 County Road 418, Clanton, Alabama, the Carrie Gray Residential Group Home.

Ms. Gray never wavered from her commitment to the service of the Mental Health Board of Chilton and Shelby Counties, Inc. She was dedicated to her position on the Board and took her responsibility and service seriously. She encouraged the regular participation of other Board members and encouraged community leaders to also support the mission of the Board financially and publically. She demonstrated compassion for the individuals being served and always demonstrated support for the management and staff who provide the services.

Ms. Carrie Gray will be greatly missed by the Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Center Community. Her friends and family can certainly be proud of her giving spirit and loyalty to the mission of the organization.

Melodie Crawford, CEO, The Mental Health Board of Chilton and Shelby Counties