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Mississippi Department of Mental Health Announces Leadership Change

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The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) announced a change in leadership in the November 19 press release quoted in its entirety in italicized print below. We wish Diana Mikula, retiring DMH executive director and her family well in her retirement.

The Board of the Department of Mental Health shared this information on November 20.

Wendy Bailey, the incoming executive director of the DMH, has scheduled a meeting with Joy Hogge, executive director of Families as Allies, on December 15 to discuss ways to work together.  We appreciate Ms. Bailey doing that and understand she has set up a number of such meetings.  If you have feedback about important things to share in this meeting, you can contact Joy at or 601-355-0915.

Department of Mental Health Announces Leadership Change
November 19, 2020 (Jackson, Miss.) – Department of Mental Health Executive Director Diana Mikula has announced that she will be retiring from the agency on January 31, 2021, and the Board of Mental Health has appointed Deputy Director for Administrative Services Wendy Bailey to fill the position following her retirement.
Mikula announced her retirement at the Board of Mental Health’s regularly scheduled November meeting.  She is leaving the agency after being named Executive Director in 2014 and serving the past six years in that role, having spent more than 25 years with the agency.
“I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to surround myself with the most compassionate, competent, and caring staff who are focused on one united mission to improve the lives of Mississippians, one person at a time,” Mikula said.
In addition to her current role as Deputy Director for Administrative Services, Bailey has previously served as Chief of Staff and Director of the Bureau of Outreach and Planning. She has been with the agency for 15 years. 
“I look forward to working with the people we serve and their families, our staff, community partners, and state leaders to continue to develop and support innovative services and initiatives that open doors to improving the overall behavioral health of our state,” Bailey said.
“My primary vision for the agency is to improve access to an evidence-based continuum of care for people with mental illness, substance use addiction, and intellectual and developmental disabilities,” she said. “Every person has a voice and a story, and every person should be able to access and participate in the care that will improve their lives.”
“Listening to the people we serve and developing evidence-based services and supports that inspire hope and help people obtain their goals are my priorities,” she said.
Bailey received her bachelor’s degree from Belhaven University and her master’s degree from Webster University. She is a graduate of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and is a Licensed Mental Health Administrator and Certified Public Manager.
During her years at the agency, she has focused on strategic planning, performance development, and budget management. She was instrumental in the department’s Think Recovery campaign, which partners with Certified Peer Support Specialists to focus on development of a recovery-oriented system of care, and the creation of the state’s first comprehensive suicide prevention plan.
She has also led efforts in the area of school safety and efforts to dispel the stigma associated with mental health, as well as the coordination of the agency’s strategic planning process.
In addition, Bailey has served on the School Safety Task Force established by Gov. Phil Bryant, the Southeast Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Advisory Board, the Mississippi Violent Death Reporting System Advisory Board, and the Mississippi’s Suicide Prevention Workgroup.
She serves as a liaison with national organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work during her years at DMH, including the NAMI Mississippi Visionary Leadership Award in 2019.
Bailey lives in Rankin County with her husband, Charles, and their son, Brandon.

For questions about the press release contact:
Adam Moore

Director of Communications
Mississippi Department of Mental Health
Phone:  (601) 359-2287

Additional news coverage of the transition:

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