SuperTalk Mississippi

AG Hood announces new Mental Health Task Force

Photo courtesy of the Attorney General's Office

The Attorney General has announced the new Mississippi Mental Health Task Force. The effort is designed to bring more voices to the conversation about the care of mentally ill patients. 

The task force met for the first time this past week to focus on voluntary and involuntary commitment procedures, uniform processing in the courts, crisis intervention training for law enforcement and their relationship with mental health centers, access to resources for family

“The commitment and passion of the resource professionals from the public and private sectors at our first meeting is compelling,” said 10th Chancery Court District Judge Ronald Doleac. “Working together, we can surely partner to alleviate cost concerns and bring more uniformity to our court commitment processes for evaluation, care, and treatment for our citizens with mental health and drug related issues,”

Thirty-one organizations are represented on the task force including mental health professionals, local and statewide elected officials, law enforcement officers, chancery judges, medical associations, and community service organizations.

Many of the members agree that the state of mental health services needs to change directions and having this group of professionals come together to find the best way to help these families all across Mississippi.

The task force will review current legislation and make recommendations for additional legislation. In week one they discussed mandating law enforcement to be trained in crisis intervention to know how to deal with a person who is mentally ill, creating outpatient commitment orders, authorizing chancery judges to issue writs for law enforcement to hold those arrested who are suffering a mental illness for 72 hours to seek evaluation rather than charging them with a crime.

Task force members include representatives from the following: Governor’s Office, MS State Senate, MS House of Representatives, Chancery Judges & Special Masters, Chancery Clerks, County Court Judges/MS Conference of Youth Court Judges, Department of Mental Health, MS Association of Community Mental Health Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, MS State Hospital (Whitfield), MS Hospital Association, MS State Medical Association, MS Primary Care Association, University of MS Medical Center, MS Department of Health, MS Board of Pharmacy, MS Association of Drug Court Professionals, MS Mental Health Commissioners Association, MS Psychological Association, National Social Workers Association, Mississippi Chapter, MS Division of Medicaid, Mississippi Chancery Clerks Association, MS Sheriffs’ Association, MS Association of Police Chiefs, MS Department of Corrections, MS Board of Supervisors Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Mississippi, Families as Allies, Disability Rights Mississippi, Mississippi United to End Homelessness (MUTEH), MS Urban Research Center, Centurion of MS, American Medical Response, Mobile Crisis Response, MS Administrative Office of Courts, Mississippi College Department of Sociology & Social Work, MS Nurses Association, MS Licensed Professional Counselors Association, and the MS Division of Medicaid.

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