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disAbility Megaconference and Mental Health Update

It was a pleasure to be back in person at the tenth annual Mississippi disAbility Megaconference on June 16 and 17 at the Jackson Hilton and to see many of you there.

Polly Tribble, executive director of Disability Rights Mississippi and Joy Hogge, executive director of Families as Allies, facilitated a discussion about the state of Mississippi’s Mental Health Services. They provided an overview of the current litigation regarding adult mental health services in Mississippi. They discussed the United States Justice Department’s lawsuit against Mississippi’s mental health system. The case focuses on services for adults with serious mental illness. Its emphasis is the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA’s) “integration mandate”… services that allow people to recover without unnecessary institutionalization in state hospitals and live and work in the community if they choose.

They reviewed the services and supports the state mental health system is required to implement to satisfy the demands of the lawsuit:

  • Mobile Crisis Teams
  • Crisis Residential Services
  • Intensive Community Support
  • Peer Support
  • Permanent Supported Housing
  • Supported Employment
  • Medication Access
  • Diversion from State Hospitals
  • Connecting individuals with serious mental illness to care
  • Discharge Planning
  • Technical Assistance to Courts and Providers
  • Data Collection
  • Public Website with Data and Outcome Information

These slides explain each requirement in more detail, and this is Judge Reeves’ remedial order defining each requirement.

The group discussed that even more details about how services should be delivered are in the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Operational Standards. Both Ms. Tribble and Dr. Hogge shared that their respective organizations were happy to help people look up information about specific services in the standards if that would be helpful.

Polly Tribble also updated the group on Disability Rights Mississippi’s legal action against the Department of Mental Health regarding access to incident reports and other information.

Jacqueline Fleming, LCSW and Teri Brister, Ph.D., members of the Court Monitoring Team in U.S. v. Mississippi, were on the panel and listened to audience members’ questions and concerns about the state mental health system. They will use this feedback to inform their monitoring visits.

If you have questions or feedback for the panel or monitoring team, but you were unable to attend the session, you can reach out via this contact information:

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