About Us

Highland Health Systems in committed to providing quality services to build a stronger community for the individuals and families in Calhoun and Cleburne Counties.



Highland Health Systems was organized in July 1967.

Early in 1967, the Alabama Legislature passed a bill, which was signed into law, known as Act 310. This landmark legislation established for the first time Regional Mental Health Boards or Authorities to govern the planning and operation of all mental health programs; including, but not limited to, mental illness, developmentally disabled, substance abuse, and epilepsy. These authorities, better known as 310 Boards, were designed to be comprehensive planning bodies charged with the responsibility to ensure that quality programs were developed to meet existing needs in designated “catchment areas.” The area for which this Board serves is Calhoun and Cleburne Counties.

By nature, the 310 Board represents a broad range of interests, disability groups, programs, and responsibilities. Its members were to be citizens who reside in the area and who were to be appointed by the respective supporting governing bodies of the area. Board members were to be interested in the broad spectrum of human services designated under Act 310 law. Although it was recognized that many Board members might have a special interest in specific programs of the Board, the law took precaution to ensure that a comprehensive attitude prevailed. Disability groups were to be given consideration in terms of program needs, planning and implementation, as resources dictate. That law was written to prevent specialization in Boards and promote generalization, or better, comprehensive planners. In this way, there would become one vehicle to serve the needs of all groups, and that vehicle became the 310 Authority Board.

Highland Health Systems was organized in July 1967. Since Federal funds were available for the basic mental health programs and facilities, the Board’s first task was to hire an Executive Director and begin actively seeking those funds to acquire a facility and to obtain staff. Over the next two years, from 1968 to 1970, work was accomplished on these grants.

In July 1971, with funds acquired through a National Institute of Mental Health construction grant, the small staff moved from the nurses’ residence where it had been located into a $900,000 facility. The completed facility was a culmination of many years of planning and over three years of construction. The new building provided space for not only administrative offices but for group therapy rooms, rooms for counseling sessions, a pharmacy, recreational rooms, sewing rooms, classrooms, meeting rooms, playrooms, and a children’s wing with an enclosed playground.

The year 1972 was a landmark year for the organization. In February the Board of Directors reincorporated from a private non-profit corporation to a public non-profit corporation under the provisions of Act 310. During July of the same year, Highland Health Systems Board received approval and funding from the National Institute of Mental Health for a staffing grant, which enabled the organization to increase its staff to 22 full time employees. The staffing grant was a culmination of two years of intensive work by the Center.

In 1974 the Board was able to develop a program proposal for a comprehensive Children’s Services Grant, which was submitted to the National Institute of Mental Health for funding. This grant was approved and funded thus adding 16 additional staff members to the organization. The Children’s Services Grant allowed for the development of comprehensive children’s services for the catchment area, the first for this region and one of only a few in the entire state.

The organization began to concentrate on providing services to another disability group in the late 1970s through 1980s. Comprehensive services for the developmentally disabled were implemented. Today, services for the developmentally disabled consume more than 50% of the total Highland Health Systems budget.

In the latter part of the 1970s and early 80s, emphasis was shifted away from a reliance on federal grants to a more permanent base of financial support from local governments, the State Department of Mental Health and third party reimbursements. Indeed, The Federal Staffing Grant concept was considered an initiative type of grant to assist with “start up” operations but was to phase out after an eight-year period. Highland Health Systems was able to successfully shift from federal support to other sources of financial support during the 1980s. The 1990s brought an end to increases in state and local funding and greater emphasis on third party reimbursements, particularly Medicaid.

Today, over forty years later, Highland Health Systems continues to provide mental health treatment to thousands each year. The vision, “To Those In Need, By Those Who Care,” lives in the many individuals that are served by the organization. The goal and mission has stood the test of time and remains the heart-beat of the Board and staff of Highland Health Systems.

Highland Health Systems will strive to be a model community service system known for its integrity, professionalism, and uncompromising commitment to our clients. To be the service provider of choice in the delivery of valued community services and adapting to the changing needs of our clients through input from community, consumers and prospective service users.

The Board of Directors of Highland Health Systems in response to needs presented by clients, families, advisory boards, prospective users, other agencies and governmental institutions, have committed HHS, its staff and resources, to the mission of providing a comprehensive, effective continuum of care. This continuum of care would address the needs of individuals, groups, families and prospective users and actively seek to assist in improving their lives. Our commitment to this mission is spelled out as follows:

  • To provide accessible, cost effective, high quality and goal-oriented outcome based mental health services to the people of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties.
  • To provide accessible and appropriate services to persons and/or families with problems that relate to psychiatric, habilitation, rehabilitation, or counseling needs and interventions.
  • To prioritize services to those who suffer from severe mental illnesses, children who experience severe emotional disturbances, individuals who are developmentally disabled, individuals who seek recovery or are recovering from addictions to alcohol/drugs. These mental health services would assist in clients bettering the quality of their lives, and to the general population as resources allow.
  • To base services on attaining the highest level of independent living and functioning in the least restrictive environment.
  • To guarantee quality through utilization of a program of continuous improvement.
  • To assist all staff in functioning as professionally capable and responsive care givers to insure effective response to client needs for as long as requested.
  • To work and grow in a caring partnership with the community and to be recognized as the leader in providing the highest quality of mental health services.
  • To conduct all activities in the highest ethical and professional manner; by attracting and retaining honest, qualified, courteous, dependable and productive employees; by offering opportunities for personal and professional growth; and by creating a safe, clean, therapeutic, cheerful environment with a caring atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
  • To ensure client's rights are monitored and protected. Violations will be investigated according to state standards, and HHS policies and procedures. Violations are reported to the Board of Directors.
  • Periodically, solicit input from active and non-active service users concerning HHS services and programs. Information is collected from prospective users through public events, training and educational opportunities, and collateral contacts with other agencies, advocates, and family members. The data gathered is assembled from information collected and forwarded to the Executive Director. Aggregate data is then forwarded to the Board of Directors and is used in the planning process for HHS.

We value and believe in:

  • Being compassionate, understanding and responsive to the opinions and needs of our clients and prospective clients.
  • Exceeding the expectations of our clients and communities.
  • Being creative and innovative in providing excellent services.
  • Providing an environment in which all employees can excel and achieve personal growth.
  • Promote teamwork and a cooperative working relationship.
  • Managing resources to ensure financial security and integrity.
  • Empowerment of people by recognizing their worth, dignity, strengths' and ability to make informed decisions.
  • Delivering services at the earliest possible time to prevent or reduce traumatic interventions in the person's future.
  • Promoting the participation of all people in the life of the community and this should not be diminished by the presence of any kind or level of mental illness, developmentally disabled, or alcohol and any other drug dependence.
  • Enhancing partnership with Alabama Council of Community Mental Health Boards and the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and other agencies with complementary goals.
  • Seriously mentally ill, substance abuse, emotionally disturbed and developmentally disabled clients will be provided levels of care which meet their needs and are based on nationally established medically necessary criteria.

Services—to the extent allowed by financial resources—are available to all residents of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties regardless of age, sex, race, creed, national origin, diagnostic category, voluntary or involuntary status, ability to pay, handicap, social status, or length of residence in the catchment area.  

Get to know us


Mickey Turner, MS, LPC

Chief Executive Officer

Mickey S. Turner is currently the CEO of Highland Health Systems. He has been employed with Highland Health Systems for over 32 years. Prior to being appointed as CEO in October 2005, he worked as the Assistant Executive Director/Clinical Director. He has worked as a case manager, counselor, and therapist prior to joining the administrative team.

Mr. Turner earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1987 from Jacksonville State University. In 1992, he graduated with his Master’s of Science in Counseling from Jacksonville State University. He received his License to Practice Counseling (LPC) from the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling in 1994.

He enjoys cycling and cooking.

Allen Stokes

Director of Finance and Administration

Allen Stokes is currently the Director of Finance and Administration at Highland Health Systems. He has held this position since February 2013. Mr. Stokes earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Alabama Business School in 1980.

Prior to Highland Health Systems, Mr. Stokes was the Financial Controller for three Environmental Service Companies (27 years), one manufacturer (2 years) and two other service companies (3 years). As the Controller, he specialized in financial analysis, budgeting, forecasting, inventory management and internal controls.

Mr. Stokes has served on the Board of Directors at the YMCA of Calhoun County since 2011. He enjoys golf, college football and exercising.

John Usrey, MS, LPC

Developmental Disabilities - Services Director

John A. Usrey is currently Director for the Developmental Disabilities Services for Highland Health Systems. He has been employed with Highland Health Systems for over 20 years.

Prior to being appointed to his current position in 2005, he worked as a supervisor in the MI division and as a therapist in the substance abuse program. Mr. Usrey earned his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degree from Jacksonville State University. He received his License to Practice Counseling (LPC) from the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling in 1996.

His hobbies include gardening, attending his children’s activities and riding his motorcycle.

Rebecca Howell, MS, LPC

Clinical Director

Rebecca Howell is currently the Clinical Director of Highland Health Systems. She has been employed with Highland Health Systems for over 19 years. Prior to being appointed Clinical Director in January 2015, she has worked as the Supervisor of multiple programs. She has worked as a rehabilitative assistant, rehabilitative instructor, case manager, therapist, community liaison officer and supervisor prior to joining the administrative team.

Ms. Howell earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 2004 from Jacksonville State University. In 2006, she graduated with her Master’s of Science in Counseling from Jacksonville State University. She received her License to Practice Counseling (LPC) from the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling in 2008.