Where to Go

A variety of services for mental health, IDD, alcohol and drug addictions, and Alzheimer’s disease and other Dementia are available across the state. To find the nearest DMH Certified Service Providers in your area, use the search form below and enter your county. Please contact the certified provider directly regarding availability of services.

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Mississippians Trained In Mental Health First Aid

In response to recent shooting tragedies in the United States, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has become a hot topic in Washington and Mississippi. In May, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health used British Petroleum grant monies to certify a cadre of trainers in both the adult and youth versions of MHFA.   These certified trainers will be available to provide education through workshops to community leaders such as pastors, teachers, and civic groups, along with families and friends interested in learning more about mental health issues. 
“With knowledge, comes understanding,” said Mardi Allen, DMH Clinical Services Liaison. “Communities that have a better understanding of mental health issues are shown to have less stigma around mental illness. Hopefully with more community understanding, those who suffer from mental illness will receive assistance and support they need rather than eschewed by our schools, churches and the general public.”
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness, substance use disorders and behavioral disorders.   Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 12-hour course as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
Both versions of MHFA includes content on how important it is to provide assistance to individuals with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, self-injury, and substance use disorders. In addition, participants learn to recognize and handle crisis situations such as suicidal behaviors, acute stress reaction following trauma, panic attack, acute psychotic behavior, and drug overdose.
For information on how to schedule a Mental Health First Aid training, contact Scott Sumrall at the Mississippi Department of Mental Health at 601-359-1288.

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month


Wellness—it’s essential to living a full and productive life. We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies that prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy.


This May is Mental Health Month, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health is spreading the word about why pathways to wellness are so important.


Pathways to Wellness— this year’s theme of May is Mental Health Month—calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health.


Wellness is more than an absence of disease. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.


Whatever our situation, we are all at risk of stress given the demands of daily life and the challenges it brings—at home, at work and in life. Steps that build and maintain well-being and help us all achieve wellness involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community.


These steps should be complemented by taking stock of one’s well-being through regular mental health checkups. Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it’s a good idea to take periodic reading of our emotional well-being. One recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. But a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor. There are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common—roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition—they are extremely treatable.


Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life. Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions lead to improved general health and a healthier society: greater academic achievement by our children, a more productive economy, and families that stay together.


For more information, click here.



Wendy D. Bailey

Director of Public Information

Mississippi Department of Mental Health


Mississippi Treasure Quest and Run/Walk for Children’s Mental Health Awareness

Mississippi Treasure Quest and Run/Walk for Children’s Mental Health Awareness

Be part of the first RUN/WALK for Children’s Mental Health Awareness on May 4, 2013 at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park off Lakeland Drive in Jackson (next to Smith-Wills Stadium). The 5K run ($25) will start at 8 a.m., followed by a Fun Run for families (free) with medals for everyone. Runner will receive a “SWAG” bag as part of the registration and a free moisture wicking tech shirt!


This RUN/WALK is part of the Mississippi 2013 Treasure Quest. An exciting event that hosts a scavenger hunt, bounce houses, horses, entertainment, food, and even zip lines! For more information visit, http://msrun.weebly.com/.


6th Annual MS School for Addiction Professionals

In an effort to help educate Mississippi’s addiction, treatment, and prevention professionals the 6th Annual Mississippi School for Addiction Professionals, hosted by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services, will be held April 9-12 at the Hattiesburg Convention Center.
“We provide a learning experience where professionals or nonprofessionals can come together to learn from innovative individuals who are leaders in the field of substance abuse treatment and prevention,” said Jerri Avery, DMH Director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services.  “The MS School is an excellent way to educate people on the best practices available to produce the best outcomes for those we serve.”
The MS School for Addiction Professionals will offer exciting plenary sessions, special events and a variety of courses in prevention, intervention and treatment, all of which are designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of each participant. The MS School offers many courses that address contemporary topics to help professionals remain abreast as to the latest trends in their areas. The MS School is open to treatment professionals, service providers, educators, parents, nurses, social workers, school counselors, law enforcement, faith based organizations, concerned citizens and others.
Keynote presenters include: Tonier “Neen” Cain, “Dealing with Trauma and the Road to Recovery;” Dr. Brian Sims, “Trauma Informed Care: The Road to Recovery,” Jonathan Cloud, “The Neuro-Science of Aggression,” Marshall Fisher, “Current Trends in Prescription Drug Abuse,” Dr. David Mee-Lee, “Helping People Change: What You Can Do To Make or Break the Therapeutic Alliance,” Becky Vaughn, “Healthcare Reform,” and Penny Norton, “Prescription Drug Abuse: A National Public Health Crisis.” 
More than 23 million people, aged 12 or older, needed treatment for a substance use disorder in the United States in 2007, and in Mississippi alone, 183,000 people and their families are affected by this disease. Each year, the alcohol and drug residential treatment centers in Mississippi certified by DMH’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services, provide residential treatment to more than 6,000 Mississippians suffering from substance abuse and dependence problems.
For more information about The Mississippi School for Addiction Professionals, contact 601-359-1288 or visit http://www.themsschool.ms/. If you or someone you know is in need of treatment, call the DMH’s Helpline at 1-877-210-8513.

More than 500 People Attend Alzheimer’s Conference

“Drawing on Our Collective Wisdom,” the 13th Annual Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Psychiatric Disorders in the Elderly was held August 15 – 17, 2012 in Olive Branch. This is the only statewide Conference on Alzheimer’s disease designed to meet the needs of both professionals and caregivers.


Understanding Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Review of Frontal Lobe Dementias

Let’s Talk Wild Turkey: Straight Talk for Seniors about Alcohol and Drugs

Alzheimer’s Disease: What Is It? Who Gets It? How Do You Prevent It?

Recognizing Possibilities: Accommodating Brain Changes in Dementia

The Power of PASSR

Cultural Competency in Dementia Care

Searching for Personhood: Unlocking the Self Through Expressive Arts

Grandma Did What? She Went Where? Anxiety and Disruptive Wandering in Alzheimer’s Disease – Why Does It Happen and What to Do

SAMHSA’s Toolkit on Evidenced Based Practices for Treating Depression in Older Adults

The Use and Effectives of the Virtual Dementia Tour

Granny’s Garden: The Future Impact of Marijuana on Baby Boomers

The Role of the Support Group for Individuals with Dementia

Sometimes You Are the Pigeon and Sometimes You are the Statue: Finding Peace in a Stressful Journey

Third National Guardianship Summit – Standards Reform

Older Oklahomans Learning to Direct Recovery

Mississippi Selected for Youth Diversion Grant

Mississippi is one of the eight states competitively selected to participate in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Collaborative, Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.

Sandra Parks and Pam Smith of DMH wrote the proposal with collaboration from Judge Bill Skinner at Hinds County Youth Court, August Patton and Marva Clark from Hinds Behavioral Health Services, Ray Simms and Zach Pattie from the Department of Public Safety, and Annie Gray from MS Families As Allies.

These eight individuals traveled to Washington D.C. in June to develop a plan for:

  • increasing communication among local agencies in Hinds County;
  • maximizing existing funding streams and explore grant opportunities;
  • improving the screening and assessment of youth at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center; and
  • improving follow-through for those youth referred to other agencies/programs.


The first “home” team meeting was held June 13 and included participation from the Department of Human Services, Division of Medicaid, Henley Young Juvenile Justice Center, Hinds County Youth Court, Hinds Behavioral Health Services, MS Families As Allies, Department of Public Safety, DMH’s Division of Children & Youth Services, and DMH’s Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Services.

First Certified Peer Support Specialist Training Held

Three of Mississippi’s Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) Trainers conducted their first Certified Peer Support Specialist Training on June 5-8 in West Point.

The CPSS Training is an intensive 34 hour course followed by a written exam. The CPSS curriculum was developed by Ike Powell and Larry Fricks of the nationally and internationally-recognized Appalachian Consulting Group (ACG). Larry Fricks’ recovery story was published by HarperCollins in the New York Time’s best-selling book Strong at the Broken Places by Richard M. Cohen and was featured on the Today Show.

The CPSS training was attended by 23 individuals who self-identify as a family member or an individual who received or is currently receiving mental health services. Upon completion of the training, successfully passing the CPSS examinations, and obtaining employment by a DMH certified provider, participates will become Certified as Peer Support Specialists. The CPSS Program provides acknowledgment that the peer has met a set of requirements necessary to provide support to individuals with mental health, substance abuse, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and or family members. The training and certification process prepares CPSSs to promote hope, personal responsibility, empowerment, education, and self-determination in the communities in which they serve

Under the general supervision of a mental health professional, a CPSS may perform a wide range of peer support services. Peer support services include advocacy, education, development of natural supports, and support of work or other meaningful activity of the person’s choosing. Services may also include crisis support, wellness activities, effective utilization of the service delivery systems, service coordination and linkage to other service providers.

Key to the successful implementation of CPSSs in service delivery roles is the understanding of what creates recovery and how to build environments conducive to recovery. This role is not interchangeable with traditional staff that works from the perspective of their training and status as licensed health care providers. Certified Peer Specialists work from the perspective of “having been there.” Through their lived experience with recovery, they lend unique insight into mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disability and what makes recovery possible.

Certified Peer Support Specialist are first degree family members and/or people living in recovery with mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disabilities that provide support to others who can benefit from their lived experiences. Mississippi defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

CPSS Training participants are preparing for the upcoming CPSS examination and excited about the opportunity to provide peer support to others. Del Pilar Clemente stated, “The CPSS training is a beautiful opportunity to be a part of the solution. Society as we know it will be taken by storm with this new concept.”

After successful completion of the training, the participants will join 17 CPSS certified by the DMH PLACE Review Board.

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