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Making Sense of Mental Health

90.3 WBHM | Birmingham -- Underlying many of Alabama's societal challenges, from homelessness to prison overcrowding to school failure to unemployment, is undiagnosed or mistreated mental illness. One in ten people will experience mental illness, but The National Institute of Mental Health reports that only one-third of Americans with mental health problems get care.

On Monday, March 13, WBHM concluded our year-long series "Making Sense of Mental Health" with a special call-in program. We talked to mental health experts and consumers and took listener questions and comments.

Titus BattleAs a member of the speaker's bureau for the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Birmingham resident Titus Battle often shares his stories of living with mental illness.

Mr. Battle describes himself as a "Humanologist", meaning he studies the behavioral traits of humans to determine if they are headed toward success or failure and then re-directs their path if necessary. He is active in local community theatre, enjoys playing the banjo, and is a crusader against child abuse.

Dr. Jackie FeldmanJacqueline Maus Feldman, MD, wears several hats at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is Director, Division of Public Psychiatry; Medical Director, Community Psychiatry Program; and Executive Director, UAB Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center. Feldman received her baccalaureate degree in psychology and general science from the University of Iowa, performed graduate work in Behavior Genetics at the University of Texas at Austin, and received her medical degree from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. She completed her psychiatry residency at Duke University Medical Center, her last year spent as Chief Resident.

Dr. Feldman is past president of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists as well as a past president of the Birmingham Psychiatric Society. She is the recipient of an UAB Outstanding Faculty Award and the NAMI Exemplary Psychiatrist Award. Dr. Feldman received the inaugural Alabama Alliance for the Mentally III Public Psychiatrist of the Year Award and has been selected on numerous times as one of the Best Doctors in America .

Dr. Max MichaelMax Michael, MD is Dean of the UAB School of Public Health and Professor in its Department of Health Care Organization and Policy. He formerly was Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Jefferson Health System/Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to serving in this position he was Chief of Staff, Chairman Department of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Services at Cooper Green Hospital.

Dr. Michael is a board-certified internist. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He was an intern and resident at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. From 1974 to 1976 he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In 1986 he was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in Washington, DC, serving on the Health Subcommittee of the Committee of Ways and Means in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. John ZieglerJohn Ziegler, MD, is Public Information Director for the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Dr. Ziegler brings more than 25 years of public relations experience to the table having done commercials utilizing national figures such as Miss America, Heather Whitestone, and Atlanta Braves Pitcher, John Smoltz. Dr. Ziegler has been with the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation for four years and has directed four anti-stigma public education campaigns. The most recent campaign generated more than 19 million advertising impressions and featured consumers with mental illness such as fellow panelist, Titus Battle. Plans are underway for the 2006 campaign which includes a series of informational commercials and a significant presence at the WVTM (NBC 13) Health and Wellness Festival to be held in April at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center.

Editor's note: This is the latest story in a year-long commitment to covering mental health issues in Alabama. You can learn more about our "Making Sense of Mental Health" project and find local mental health resources -- as our commitment continues throughout the year -- inside this website.

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Making Sense of Mental Health