We have been keeping you updated on Senate Bill 2610, legislation that proposes a new position for a mental health coordinator to perform a comprehensive review of Mississippi’s mental health system.
The Senate version of the bill (Sections 3 – 7, lines 85 – 236) and the House version of the bill are different (Sections 3 – 7, lines 108 -275). The Senate version of SB 2610 makes the mental health coordinator an independent, temporary (3-year) position, while the House version makes the coordinator a permanent position within the Department of Mental Health (DMH).
Last week we shared with you that the Senate could either accept the House version of the bill or the bill could go to conference, where three senators and three representatives will attempt to work out a version that both sides accept. The bill went to conference.
The Senate appointed Senators Bryan, Hopson and Polk to be on the conference committee. You can contact them at the Capitol switchboard (601-359-3770) or by clicking their contact information linked to their names if you have feedback about how you think the mental health coordinator position should be structured.
The House has not yet assigned conferees, but you can share your feedback with Public Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Sam Mims or with Speaker Philip Gunn, either by calling them at the Capitol switchboard (601-359-3770) or accessing their hyperlinked contact information.
We shared this document, Olmstead Risk Assessment and Planning Checklist, from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors with the committee. It has information that would likely be helpful to the committee and the eventual Mental Health Coordinator (regardless of how the position is structured). We encourage any of you who are interested in mental health reform to take a look at it as well.