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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Arc of Tuscaloosa has been serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1957.

Sarah McFarland with the Arc said she believes those with mental health illnesses have a right to be part of the community, but there are thousands with mental illnesses or disabilities in Alabama who are still waiting for proper funding for their care.

A big part of the Arc’s outreach is getting their clients in contact with those who can give them jobs. Small-business owners have the power to help and get something in return, she said.

“Be open to talking to our supported employment department about employing our individuals in the community,” she said. “By giving our individuals a change to interview for a job, you’re giving them a chance to be independent and live a life like you.”

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, and every American is affected or impacted through friends and family.

Mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.

Nearly 44 million American adults and millions of children have some form of mental health illness.

To learn more about Mental Illness Awareness Month, visit

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