Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get help for myself or a loved one?

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) operates programs for people with mental illness and intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), and it certifies a network of providers in communities throughout Mississippi. Call the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s toll free help line at 1-877-210-8513 to learn how you or a loved one can receive needed services. All calls are confidential.

You can also visit the Mental Health Mississippi web site at The site provides information about mental health providers around the state, both those that are DMH certified and others.

What do I do if someone I know is thinking about suicide?

It is important to let people know you care about them and for their well being. Don’t hesitate to let your friends, family members, and loved ones know that you are there for them. It is OK to be direct and talk matter-of-factly about suicide, but you should also seek help. Call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by 988 to speak with a trained crisis counselor. Find more information, including the availability to chat online, at

I am in need of emergency help at this very moment. What can I do?

Go to the nearest emergency room or call the DMH Helpline at 1-877-210-8513. You can also find information about crisis services by clicking here, including phone numbers for Mobile Crisis Response Teams that are available through the state’s Community Mental Health Centers. These teams will respond to locations where someone is experiencing a mental health crisis to provide assessment and stabilization services, and they are available around the clock. If you are fearing for your own or someone else’s safety, don’t hesitate to call 911.

As mentioned above, you can also call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 to speak with a trained crisis counselor. Find more information, including the availability to chat online, at

I am currently receiving services. Where can I learn about my rights, and how do I file a complaint or grievance?

The Office of Consumer Support (OCS) in DMH is responsible for providing assistance to individuals receiving services and their families in order to resolve grievances related to access to services and service provision. OCS provides education regarding the rights of individuals receiving services and responds to general questions concerning services for individuals with serious mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. Through OCS, you or your family members can file a grievance, which will be responded to by the staff of OCS. You can contact OCS through the DMH Helpline or by calling 601-359-6298.

What programs does the Department of Mental Health operate? How can I access them?

DMH administers and operates state behavioral health programs that provide inpatient services for adults and children with serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders. DMH behavioral health programs are Mississippi State Hospital in Rankin County and its satellite program, Specialized Treatment Facility in Gulfport, East Mississippi State Hospital in Meridian and its satellite programs, North Mississippi State Hospital in Tupelo and South Mississippi State Hospital in Purvis. Admissions to these programs are handled through the court commitment process, which begins by contacting the local Chancery Clerk’s office. A pre-evaluation screening will then take place, and a judge will then make a decision about whether treatment is needed in an inpatient behavioral health program or at an outpatient program. You can click here for more information about DMH’s behavioral health programs.

DMH also operates regional programs for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities. These are Boswell Regional Center in Magee and its satellite program, Mississippi Adolescent Center in Brookhaven; Ellisville State School in Ellisville and its satellite program, South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach; Hudspeth Regional Center in Rankin County; and North Mississippi Regional Center in Oxford. These programs provide residential services and licensed homes for community living. You can click here for more information about IDD programs.

What services are available in my community?

Many mental health conditions can be successfully treated without requiring inpatient treatment, and DMH’s goal is to make services available without the need for admission to a program. The network of Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) in the state are the primary providers of outpatient, community-based services for people in need. The CMHCs make available a range of community-based mental health, substance use, and in some regions, IDD services. These centers operate the Mobile Crisis Response Teams that respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. For more information or to find your local CMHC, please visit this page of the DMH web site.

CMHCs also provide intensive community services designed to serve people in their homes, rather than an inpatient facility, allowing them to continue living in their communities and preventing the need for readmissions. These services include Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), Intensive Outreach and Recovery Teams (ICORT), and Intensive Community Support Services (ICSS). At least one of these services (PACT, ICORT, & ICSS) is available in each of Mississippi’s 82 counties. You can find more information about these services by clicking here.

A number of private providers certified by DMH are also available throughout the state. Services vary by region and by provider. For more information about what services may be available in your community, please call the DMH Helpline at 1-877-210-8513, or click the Find A Provider button on the left side of the DMH home page.

What services are available for children and youth?

Mississippi State Hospital in Rankin County provides services for male and female adolescents with emotional and/or behavioral problems at home, in school and/or in the community. It also serves as a primary substance use treatment program for male and female adolescents who are engaging in harmful drug or alcohol use behaviors. In addition to targeting substance use behaviors, the program helps adolescents with presenting co-occurring diagnoses, family/relational problems, and impactful traumatic experiences. Specialized Treatment Facility in Gulfport also offers services to adolescent males and females who are experiencing behavioral difficulties in their homes, schools, and communities. A variety of services and supports are available for children and youth through Certified Providers in the community. Find more information here.

Are services available if my child is involved in the juvenile justice system?

It is possible your child may be able to receive services from a Juvenile Outreach Program that provides linkage and access to mental health services to young people who have become involved in the juvenile justice system. Contact the Division of Children and Youth at DMH by calling 601-359-1288.

Where can someone get services for alcohol and drug use?

Mississippi State Hospital provides substance use treatment services for both male and female youth, as well as for adult females. East Mississippi State Hospital provides adult male substance use treatment services.

The Bureau of Behavioral Health within DMH is responsible for establishing, maintaining, monitoring and evaluating a statewide system of alcohol and drug use services, including outpatient services, intensive outpatient services, residential services, withdrawal management services (detox), and more. You can see more information about alcohol and drug treatment services on the DMH web site.

What services are available for intellectual/developmental disabilities?

The term intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) covers a broad range of disorders and syndromes, many of which are misunderstood by the general public. These are impairments in intellectual functioning or cognitive or physical disabilities that affect someone’s everyday life. The state’s IDD programs mentioned above provide residential services to people with these needs, but a variety of community services is also available to assist people with IDD in living in their communities. Two significant services are:

  • ID/DD Waiver – The ID/DD Home and Community Based Waiver provides individualized supports and services as an alternative to care in residential settings. These Medicaid-funded supports and services are available as long as the cost of supporting someone in the home or community does not exceed the cost of caring for them in a residential setting. People enrolled in the ID/DD Waiver are assisted in developing a person-centered plan that describes the person’s strengths, what is important to and for them, and the supports necessary to live their best life.To be eligible, a person must receive an evaluation by one of the Diagnostic Services Teams at the five IDD regional programs and be found to have an intellectual disability that manifested before the age of 18 and/or have a developmental disability that manifested before the age of 22, and be eligible for Medicaid. For more information about qualifying for Medicaid, contact your regional Medicaid office to discuss eligibility.
  • IDD Community Support Program (1915i) – The IDD Community Support Program provides services to people over the age of 18 with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in a community setting. The program supports the person in gaining access to the community activities and employment services. To be eligible, a person must be assessed by one of the Diagnostic Services Teams at the IDD regional programs and be found to have an intellectual disability that manifested before the age of 18 and/or have a developmental disability that manifested before the age of 22, and be at least 18 years old and no longer receiving school services. Additionally, a person must need assistance in at least two of the following five areas on a continuing or intermittent basis: employment, social support system, instrumental activities of daily living, social behavior, or financial assistance.

For more information about IDD services or the ID/DD Home and Community Based Waiver, please click this link.

How are evaluations conducted for these IDD services?

The first step to receiving services is to contact the Diagnostic Services Department at one of the five IDD Regional Programs. The Diagnostic Services Department will provide an evaluation, at no cost, to determine if soferring you to those providers. Click here to see if your county is served by the team at North Mississippi Regional Center, Hudspeth Regional Center, Boswell Regional Center, Ellisville State School, or South Mississippi Regional Center.

Do treatment providers accept insurance? What if I can't pay?

Each provider makes their own decisions for what form of insurance they accept. If you or loved ones are receiving services at a program DMH operates, those services are made available to Mississippians at no cost. For alcohol and drug treatment at CMHCs, some people may qualify for funding DMH makes available to CMHCs to provide services for people with no other payer source. Services are also available on a sliding scale fee that may vary by provider or income. Some IDD services named above are made available through Medicaid.

How do I become a DMH Certified Provider?

DMH certifies or provides a network of services to individuals with mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and substance abuse problems. Before the certification process begins, all interested providers are required to attend a mandatory Interested Provider Orientation. The Interested Provider Orientation is offered quarterly (February, May, August and November). Once an interested provider has attended the mandatory Interested Provider Orientation, the process to become a Certified Service Provider can begin. Please note that DMH certification is not a guarantee of funding from any source or referrals to service. Further information about the certification process can be found by calling the DMH Central Office at 601-359-1288 and contacting the Division of Certification. 

How can I learn about DMH credentials?

The DMH Division of Professional Licensure and Certification (PLACE) is responsible for developing and implementing licensure and certification programs for categories of professionals who are employed at programs which are operated, funded and/or certified by DMH. You can find out more about PLACE credentials by clicking here.

What is recovery? How can I learn more about people in recovery

DMH believes in the concept of recovery – the belief that people can recover from mental illnesses and lead happy, meaningful, and successful lives. Recovery means something different to everyone. Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines four major areas that support a life in recovery – health, home, purpose, and community. You can find out more about recovery, including testimonials from Mississippians sharing their personal stories of recovery, by clicking here.

How can I come a Certified Peer Support Specialist?

A Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) is a family member and/or individual who has self-identified as having received or is presently receiving behavioral health services. Additionally, a CPSS has successfully completed formal training recognized by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) and is employed by a DMH Certified Provider. They are living proof that recovery is possible. CPSSs share lived experiences and are willing to share their stories to benefit others. For more information, including an application to become a CPSS, please click here.