More than 300 people have rallied outside of the Alabama Statehouse asking lawmakers not to cut funding to mental health services.
Many of those participating in the rally Wednesday were wearing distinctive red shirts and receive services for alcoholism, mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities from the Department of Mental Health.
The rally took place shortly before House and Senate budget committees heard Mental Health Commissioner Zelia Baugh say that a proposed 25 percent budget cut could cause thousands to lose community mental health services.
Baugh said she has proposed closing four existing mental health facilities as a way to keep from eliminating those community services.
At the rally, speakers told stories of holding down jobs and living normal lives despite mental disabilities thanks to community-based mental health programs.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)