These Are Your Rights In the Mental Health System

Mississippi state law says that the following services SHALL be available to children with serious emotional and behavioral challenges:

  • Comprehensive crisis and emergency response services;
  • Intensive case management;
  • Day treatment;
  • Alcohol and drug abuse group services
  • Individual, group and family therapy;
  • Respite services;
  • Supported employment services for youth;
  • Family education and support and family partners;
  • Youth development and support and youth partners;
  • Positive behavioral supports (PBIS) in schools;
  • Transition-age supported and independent living services; and
  • Vocational/technical education services for youth.
And That The Way These Services Are Provided SHALL Be:
  • Child centered, family focused, family driven and youth guided;

  • Community based

  • Culturally competent and responsive; and SHALL provide for:

              (i)  Service coordination or case management;
              (ii)  Prevention and early identification and intervention;
              (iii)  Smooth transitions among agencies and providers, and to the transition-age and adult service systems;

             (iv)  Human rights protection and advocacy;

              (v)  Nondiscrimination in access to services;
              (vi)  A comprehensive array of services composed of treatment and informal supports that are identified as best practices and/or evidence-based practices;
              (vii)  Individualized service planning that uses a strengths-based, wraparound process;
              (viii)  Services in the least restrictive environment;
              (ix)  Family participation in all aspects of planning, service delivery and evaluation; and
              (x)  Integrated services with coordinated planning across child-serving agencies.

If you have questions or concerns about the help your child needs or if you believe the mental health services your child receives don’t follow state law, you can contact the Mississippi Department of Mental Health 24-hour helpline at 1-877-210-8513. You may also print out this information.

There is also a federal law, the Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) that states children who receive Medicaid should get screened early and at regular intervals for social and emotional problems and then get the right kind of help from qualified providers if they need it. 

In 2010, Southern Poverty Law Center sued Mississippi for not following the EPSDT law.  That lawsuit is still in Federal Court.  The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has also investigated Mississippi for not following this law.  If you would like to contact either of these organizations about your child’s experiences with getting any of these services:

Families as Allies is funded through generous donations, training fees, grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Heath Services Administration, the City of Jackson and the Department of Mental Health, and contracts with other non-profits and agencies.