author: "One More Day: A powerful true story of suicide, loss, and a woman's newfound faith"
This story is long. And it has to do with belief and trust and understanding why things happen when and how they do — and how to feed from that.

 It has to do with circumstances falling into place, and stepping back to acknowledge the larger picture and seeing how the pieces fit together one by one. It is about survival and resolve.

 It is about patience and it is about being humbled.

 And it started with a message from a friend who said she had something for me, and asked when we could meet.
Carrie Richardson knows what she faces with her Early Onset Familial Alzheimer's diagnosis.

 She has seen her father die from the disease. And uncles. Her cousin.

 And while she watches as her older brother exhibit the signs of the disease, the 34-year-old single mother of three children knows her time is near.

 She brushes off having put liquid coffee creamer in the pantry instead of the refrigerator, and says she has been told on the phone that she has repeated questions.

  "I don't make excuses for myself ... "
Edward Moye takes a deep, sharp breath before starting to talk.

He holds his hands over his face and slowly starts telling a story about recovery, second chances, liquor, addiction, drugs, time spent in prison, beer. And about three months in which he has changed his life; three months of being sober.

He talks about the month of July, when he saw his photo in the local newspaper, and how he thought,
"Is this me?"
My wish is that mental health didn't have such a cloud over it.

A cloud that covers what people endure, how they suffer and the fog felt when they feel they face what they face alone: depression, anxiety, or any disorder that isn't common, or comfortable, to discuss.

While I believe within certain circles it is becoming more acceptable — friend-to-friend, confidant-to-confidant — and while I feel there is more communication and trust, a community as a whole needs to help their own people in pushing away that cloud cover.
Alexander Matthews carries a clear plastic bag of empty aluminum cans over his right shoulder along Lower Wetumpka Road, when a van pulls up to ask whether he is homeless.

He pauses slightly, turns his head when he answers, and with a half smile, says, "Yes, ma'am."

The 46-year-old has been homeless for a couple of years since "after my divorce ... a hell of a story. After my divorce, it just shook me up. And right after that, my mom had died. And that shook me up. And my father died. I quit caring. I got to that point.
In her "come full circle" career, Lynn Beshear believes everything she has accomplished has led her to oversee the state's mental health system.

... As Beshear sits in her office at 100 North Union St., within sight of a side door to the Capitol Building she has special access to, the newly appointed commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health focuses on partnerships, planning and prevention.

"I want to make this department relevant," she said.
U.S. News & World Report (link)

Parkinson's Patients Find Balance, Stamina in Fitness Class

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Jack Noble has noticed two positive changes in his body since attending the Rock Steady Boxing class at MetroFitness: his breathing, and his stamina.

The 85-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago, and in this new class brought to the east Montgomery fitness center that focuses on strength, balance and agility, Noble appreciates it for its movement and for "really feeling like I'm getting a workout."

With more than 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson's disease — 60,000 Americans are diagnosed every year — exercise has been proven to help alleviate the symptoms of the disease, as it improves strength, balance and stability.
Seattle Times (link)
Mom, daughter, diagnosed with breast cancer compare care

 MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Charlene Kendrick was 29 years old in 1975 when diagnosed with breast cancer.

A single mother to a 9-year-old daughter, the only thing she knew about cancer was whatever information her doctor provided — information, she said, which didn’t even include the stage of her cancer.

Information, however, that did warn her to not get stung by a bee.
Seattle Times (link)
Patients with HIV, AIDS, are served at new Dental Clinic

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Diagnosed with HIV more than a quarter of a century ago, a man reclines comfortably at MAO Dental Clinic while getting his teeth cleaned.

Hands folded and head tilted back, the 49-year-old patient has never felt more at ease than he does at the McGehee Road clinic. Opened for those with HIV and AIDS, it is an expansion of services offered through Medical Advocacy and Outreach (formerly Medical AIDS Outreach).

“This is a wonderful Godsend,” said the man,
Cullman Times (link)
Opioid use in Alabama: "Addiction is Preventable"
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — At a homeless shelter on Mobile Highway, the staff sees it all: the shakes, vomiting, the chills, the men curled up detoxing from opioid addiction.

The detox of coming off the pills is dangerous, and often, goes unnoticed until it is to a point that all the staff can do is "get them through it," said Tammy Middleton, executive director of the Friendship Mission.

... Alabama prescribes the most opioids in the nation. For the state's 4.85 million people, the 5,840,754 pain pills prescriptions in the state in 2015 averages to 1.2 prescriptions per person, as reported from a September joint investigation into opioids by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity.
 
Seattle Times (link)
Teen mom explains what she sacrificed: everything

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — When Shannon Hust became pregnant at age 16, more than one person told her she would never finish high school.

So she set out to prove them wrong.

It took one extra semester, but the now 38-year-old graduated and can look at her now 20-year-old son and know that what she sacrificed in her teenage years was worth the struggles.

But she doesn’t recommend it.

“It was not a piece of cake,” Hust, of Prattville, said. “I didn’t know the first thing about raising a kid. I was not prepared. I knew nothing ... 

Today, Alabama teen pregnancy is at a historic low, according to the recently released 2017 Alabama Kids Count Data Book, produced by VOICES for Alabama’s Children.