DMH Response to Federal Court Order

September 6, 2019 – DMH was notified this week that Judge Carlton Reeves found the State is violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but he did not order a specific remedy. In finding the State in violation, the Court recognized the efforts that have been made toward expanding community-based care.  According to the Memorandum Opinion and Order, Judge Reeves said, “Since the United States has proven its case, the Court could order the remedy proposed at trial by the Department of Justice and its experts. Acknowledging and understanding the complexity of this system, the progress that the State has made, and the need for any changes to be done in a patient centered way that does not create further gaps in services for Mississippians, however, the Court is not ready to do so. The Court is hesitant to enter an Order too broad in scope or too lacking in a practical assessment of the daily needs of the system. In addition, it is possible that further changes might have been made to the system in the months since the factual cutoff. This case is well‐suited for a special master who can help the parties craft an appropriate remedy—one that encourages the State’s forward progress in a way that expedites and prioritizes community‐based care.”

In his Order, Judge Reeves also acknowledges that, “at no point during the four weeks of trial was any expert willing to parade their home state as an example of a mental health system without flaws. States from every corner of the country have struggled to provide adequate mental health care services. Mississippi has its own unique challenges due to its rural nature and limited funding.”

We want to provide hope to Mississippians by supporting a continuum of care for people with mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction, and intellectual or developmental disabilities. By inspiring hope, helping people on the road to recovery, and improving resiliency, Mississippians can succeed. To help in our mission, over the past several years many services and supports have been expanded and new ones implemented, including mobile crisis response teams, community transition homes, crisis stabilization beds, Programs of Assertive Community Treatment, Intensive Community Outreach and Recovery Teams, supported employment, supported housing, Mental Health First Aid trainings for the public, court liaisons, and Crisis Intervention Teams. DMH’s staff will continue our commitment to the mission of our agency and the people we serve.