The Mississippi Department of Mental Health announced the first round of layoffs following approval from the Mississippi State Personnel Board. DMH is set to layoff 650 positions.
The first round includes:
– 53 positions at the Crisis Stabilization Unit and the Footprints day program at Central Mississippi Residential Center.
– 73 positions at East Mississippi State Hospital’s child and adolescent unit. Four of those positions are currently vacant.
– 3 positions at North Mississippi Regional Center.
The CSU and the Footprints program are transitioning to the operation of Weems Community Mental Health Center, while the child and adolescent unit at EMSH is being consolidated with the child and adolescent unit at Mississippi State Hospital in Rankin County. Employees at the CSU and Footprints had or will have the opportunity to apply for positions at Weems. Employees at EMSH are able to apply for currently vacant positions currently on recruitment at either the EMSH main campus or any other DMH program.
The three positions at NMRC are involved in the Early Intervention Program, which provides evaluations and therapeutic services to infants under age three. The Early Intervention Program is a program through the Department of Health, and DMH was acting as a provider for that service. There are multiple other providers for that service in the state, so it will continue to be available.
Lawmakers say the budget situation is bleak for many state agencies, and DMH is no exception.
“We’re looking at $28 million dollars coming from that public system in the last two years,” said Holland. “Mental (illness) is a very unique illness, and a very unique delivery is required to provide services to those with mental illness.”
A recent report from the Department of Mental Health outlined some of the pitfalls within the system and what could be done to address them.
“There are some disparities, and the Department of Mental Health doesn’t deny that,” said Holland. “such as leaning our policies to institutionalization versus community based services.”