Ivey: Lynn Beshear retiring as ADMH commissioner; Kim Boswell appointed

Kim Boswell (Office of Gov. Kay Ivey)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced that Lynn Beshear will retire as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) effective Dec. 16, 2020. Ivey appointed Beshear to the position in July 2017. Kim Boswell will take Beshear’s place.

“When Lynn was appointed, I knew that she would approach her role always thinking of what is best for the people of Alabama,” Ivey said. “She has created a collaborative team approach within the Alabama Department of Mental Health to solve intricate problems regarding delivery of services for mental illness, substance abuse disorder and intellectual disability. I am truly grateful for her service to our state and wish her best in her next chapter.”

While leading the ADMH, Beshear spearheaded many initiatives to increase access of services for Alabamians with mental illness while navigating complexities of delivery by the department and community providers. 

“It is been an honor to serve as the commissioner of the department,” Beshear said. “I am stepping into the next chapter of my life proud of the accomplishments of the department and am incredibly honored to have worked with such dedicated individuals who are committed to improving the lives of others. I profoundly thank Governor Ivey for her trust in me these last three years and have no doubt the department will continue to change the lives of the people of Alabama for the better.”

Under Beshear’s leadership, the ADMH launched Stepping Up Alabama, which uses the national model to reduce the numbers of individuals in jails with mental illness. Alabama is the only state to expand the goal to include ERs and substance use disorder. It is anticipated that a case management component of Stepping Up will be in place in all 67 counties by the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

Also, three mental health crisis centers were announced as crisis diversion centers in the 2020 fiscal year with the goal of individuals receiving “the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

Expansion of school-based mental health services, hiring a housing coordinator for individuals’ stabilization plans, and the expansion of infant and early childhood services and autism services are examples of the ADMH’s expansion of services during Beshear’s tenure.

Ivey is appointing Boswell to be the new commissioner effective Dec. 16, 2020. Boswell has more than 36 years of experience working with individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and developmental disabilities.

She currently serves as chief of staff for Beshear and has been both associate commissioner for administration and director of human resources for the ADMH. During her career, she has worked as a planner to improve human service delivery systems, a program evaluator, a School to Work transition coordinator, and has also served as the state office administrator for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

“I’m pleased to announce Kim Boswell as commissioner for the Alabama Department of Mental Health,” Ivey said. “She has spent the entirety of her professional career devoted to helping struggling individuals and I appreciate her willingness to serve in this new capacity. Her background as a mental health provider as well as administrator makes her uniquely qualified.”

Boswell received a Bachelor of Social Work from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Social Work from Florida State University, with a specialization in planning and program evaluation.

Boswell is of no relation to Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell.