This week, we draw your attention to three recently released documents about Mississippi’s mental health system:
1. Office of the Coordinator of Mental Health Accessibility – Quarterly Report for January 2023 – June 2023 – The Mississippi Legislature created the Coordinator of Mental Health Accessibility position in 2020, tasked with these duties:
- To perform a comprehensive review of Mississippi’s mental health system.
- To analyze and review the structure of the mental health system.
- To review the adequacy and quality of the individualized supports and services provided to people discharged from the state hospitals.
- To review the quarterly financial statements and status reports of the individual community mental health centers.
- To consult with the Special Master appointed in the United States v. Mississippi ruling and a wide range of other stakeholders, including the Monitor in the same lawsuit.
- To determine where the delivery or availability of mental health services is inadequate in any county or geographic area within a county.
- To determine whether each community mental health center has sufficient funds to provide the required mental health services.
- To report on the status of the mental health system quarterly.
The court appointed Bill Rosamond to the Coordinator position on October 15, 2020. The current quarterly report focuses on the Coordinator’s office and other groups consolidating Region 11 Community Mental Health Centers services with those of Region 12 and Region 15, House Bill 1222 and Mental Health Treatment Courts.
2. U.S. v. Mississippi Lawsuit Fourth Report of the Court Monitor The court posted this report on September 7, 2023. Dr. Michael Hogan monitors the mental health system’s compliance with the changes and improvements the lawsuit requires. Dr. Hogan begins the report with helpful background information about the decade-long legal battle and the mental health system. He then describes:
- Activities of the Monitor during this reporting period
- Observations on Compliance
- Compliance Findings
- Conclusion and next steps
He finds the state in compliance, approaching compliance or in partial compliance with all terms. He ends the report by stating, “Reviewing data to assess adequacy of services and DMH (Department of Mental Health) efforts to improve care will be priorities during 2024.”
3. Attorney General Opinion on County Holding Facility Certification by Mississippi Department of Mental Health On August 24, 2023. Attorney General Lynn issued this opinion in response to these questions from Ms. Wendy Bailey, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health:
- Does Mississippi Code Annotated Section 41-21-77 require the Mississippi Department of Mental Health to proactively certify county jails if they are being used for providing housing, maintenance, and medical treatment for an involuntarily committed person, or does the statute indicate that the Department of Mental Health has the authority to certify county facilities pursuant to Section 41-4-7(kk)?
- Does Section 41-4-7(kk) require the State Board of Mental Health to certify county holding facilities, such as county jails?
- If the answer to Question 2 is yes, would this also include county hospitals that may hold someone who has been involuntarily committed?
Each of these documents is informative. Together, they may also have implications for how Mississippi’s care system can more effectively support people with mental illness.