Mississippi asserts it is meeting mental health mandates

MGN Online

Mississippi says it is fulfilling requirements to provide community-based mental health services.

Posted: May 3, 2021 1:51 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Mental Health says it is fulfilling requirements to provide community-based services, and it is asking a federal judge not to order the state to make changes in its mental health system.

The federal government issued a letter in 2011 saying Mississippi had done too little to provide mental health services outside mental hospitals. The Justice Department sued the state in 2016. After a 2019 trial, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled Mississippi “operates a system that unlawfully discriminates against persons with serious mental illness.”

Attorneys for the Department of Mental Health wrote in court papers filed Friday that “even if the Court remains of its prior view on liability based on the evidence at trial, the Court still should order no relief because Mississippi is now in substantial compliance with Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act ... and has addressed or will imminently address the violations the Court believed to exist.”

The Justice Department is supposed to file papers later this month responding to what the state said Friday.

Federal attorneys said during the trial that mentally ill people were being held in jails because crisis teams didn’t respond. They said people had been forced to live far from their families because mental health services weren’t available in their hometowns. They also said people made repeat trips to Mississippi mental hospitals because there was no effective planning for them to make a transition to community services, and the most intensive kinds of services weren’t being made available.

In early 2020, the judge named an expert with 40 years' experience as a special master to oversee discussions of improving Mississippi's system.

In the papers filed Friday, the department said Mississippi had eight Program of Assertive Community Treatment teams as of Dec. 31, 2018, but now has 10. It said the teams facilitate "community living, psychological rehabilitation and recovery for people who have the most severe and persistent mental illnesses ... and have not benefitted from traditional outpatient services.”

The department said Mississippi had no Intensive Community Outreach and Recovery Teams at the end of 2018 but is developing 16 teams. It described those as "intensive, community-based rehabilitation and outreach service for adults with a severe and persistent mental illness.”

The department said Mississippi “will fund and sustain 35 full time” of intensive community support specialists, although workforce turnover could cause the number to fluctuate.

The department also said Mississippi has and will sustain at least one Mobile Crisis Team in each of the 13 mental health regions.

“Mississippi will maintain its regional crisis hotlines that are staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with staff who assess a crisis by phone, assist with immediate stabilization efforts, and help a caller identify and connect with ongoing local services,” the department said.

According to the court filing, Mississippi has crisis residential services available for every region except Region 11, which is made up of Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties. The department said it will make money available for residential services for up to 12 people at a time in Region 11.

Joy Hogge is executive director of Families as Allies, a mental health advocacy group in Mississippi. She told The Associated Press on Monday that after reading the state's latest court filing that she still has questions about people's access to mental health services outside of mental hospitals.

“They can say on paper that more services exist, but whether or not people are getting those services or whether or not they benefit from them ... we don’t know,” Hogge said. “If that data exists, I haven’t seen it.”

Hogge also said the state needs a formal structure between the Department of Mental Health and the Division of Medicaid because many mental health services are paid by Medicaid. She said current coordination between the two programs is "dependent on the goodwill of the people working there,” but that could change later.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 51°
Columbus
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 50°
Oxford
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 44°
Starkville
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 45°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for this weekend. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. However, there will be some changes next week in our weahter forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather