Legislative Updates

2022 Legislative Update

The 2022 Regular Session of the Mississippi State Legislature ended in April 2022. Below is a brief summary of bills significant to DMH that passed during the session.

Senate Bill 3027

SB 3027 is the DMH appropriations bill for FY23 (July 2022 – June 2023).  This bill provides DMH with an approximate $7.5 million increase in General Funds compared to FY22, funding the psychiatric residency program at Mississippi State Hospital, the new Office of Utilization Review in the DMH Central Office, and providing increases for health insurance and the SEC2 project of the Mississippi State Personnel Board. It also includes $4.9 million in Capital Expense Funds for the Forensic Service unit at Mississippi State Hospital.

House Bill 732

HB 732 provides legislative intent for the implementation of the 988 suicide prevention and crisis lifeline, which will replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number this July, providing an easy to remember number that has been compared to 911 for mental health.

House Bill 1353

HB 1353 provides a total of $7.75 million for projects at Mississippi State Hospital, Boswell Regional Center, Ellisville State School, and North Mississippi Regional Center.

ARPA Funding

Two bills provided DMH funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). SB 3062 provides $40 million for capital projects related to infrastructure at DMH programs. In addition, SB 2865 provides funding for behavioral health needs and expenses allowed under ARPA. Through this bill, $86 million is provided for behavioral health crisis services, diversion from a higher level of care, IDD crisis services, and more for up to 4.5 years. It also provides $18.5 million for information technology resources at Community Mental Health Centers.

American Rescue Plan ACT Funding Proposal

In December 2021, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health presented a proposal to the Mississippi Legislature to increase the utilization of community-based services for behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities. While the community expansion efforts that have taken place over the past several years have placed Mississippi in a better position to respond to the needs created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this proposal will help the state continue to address needs for mental health services. DMH’s proposal for this funding includes:

  • 988 Implementation – As a result of federal legislation passed in 2020, the FCC was directed to implement a three-digit number, 988, as a national, universal number for the purpose of a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. This number will go live in July 2022. This funding includes start-up costs and continued operation costs for the implementation of the 988 call system.
  • Mobile Crisis Response Teams – These teams provide community-based crisis services in the location where an individual is experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The implementation of 988 is predicted to lead to an increase in the need for and referrals to Mobile Crisis Response Teams. DMH is requesting an additional $100,000 for each of the 14 teams funded by the agency to aid in the anticipated increased need.
  • Crisis Services (SMI) – DMH has expanded access to Crisis Stabilization Units in recent years by funding 44 additional crisis stabilization beds in the state. Previously, Mississippi had eight, 16-bed Crisis Stabilization Units across the state. There are now 13 Crisis Stabilization Units and 176 beds. Additional funding will be utilized to expand capacity to include approximately 60 more beds in the state.
  • Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Training – This is an evidence-based mental health awareness course that teaches participants how to recognize if a person may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or is in crisis. DMH proposes Mississippi to host a train-the-trainer and then provide MHFA Public Safety Training for approximately 300 people in the first 12 months.
  • Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement – Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is a pre-booking jail diversion program designed to improve the outcomes of police interactions with people with mental illnesses. Mississippi currently has 8 fully operational CIT Programs. There are more communities that have expressed interest in a CIT program. With this funding, DMH can fund four staff dedicated to CIT expansion throughout the state and contract with off duty CIT officers to help conduct the training.
  • Peer Support Services – DMH will utilize funding to expand the availability of peer support services to begin three pilot peer respite programs. A peer respite is a voluntary, short-term, day program that provides community-based, non-clinical crisis support to help people find new understanding and ways to move forward. It operates during the day in a homelike environment.
  • Court/Law Enforcement/Hospital Liaisons – DMH will work with community providers to pilot court/law enforcement/hospital liaison programs to connect people with community-based services to decrease the number of commitments to inpatient, acute psychiatric services. DMH recommends the pilot program for up to 18 liaisons in Community Mental Health Centers for counties based on commitment data.
  • Intensive Community Support Specialists for Children and Youth – The Intensive Community Support Specialist is the primary contact for inpatient facilities discharging children and youth back into the community and works closely with the facilities to develop and coordinate aftercare plans to promote successful transitions from the facilities to the services and resources in the communities. DMH would like to expand this further to the remaining seven CMHCs that do not have an ICSS to have this service available in all CMHCs.
  • Adolescent Offender Program – Traditionally, the mental health component of Adolescent Offender Programs (AOPs) has been implemented utilizing a day treatment model. With AOPs in operation, youth court judges and referees have an alternative to court-ordering youth who have mental health needs to lengthened stays in juvenile detention centers or other consequences that may lack a mental health component. DMH recommends adding one program in each of the 13 Community Mental Health Centers.
  • Crisis Services (IDD) – This proposal includes adding one six-bed, and four four-bed Crisis Diversion Homes for adults with IDD. This will provide timely access to essential services and supports necessary for persons with developmental disabilities to maintain health and safety and to address behavioral, psychiatric, medical, or other needs, when other services and supports fail, are interrupted, are not available, or additional services and supports are necessary for an urgent crisis need. This also includes working with the Center for START Services, University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability UCED to provide consultation and training to DMH for the purpose of strengthening the services and supports for children and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and co-occurring mental health needs.

Click here for DMH’s full proposal and a breakdown of those services funded in SB 2865

FY23 Joint Legislative Budget Request

The Department of Mental Health presented its FY23 budget request to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee on Friday, September 24, 2021. The request asks for $220,868,752 in General Fund appropriations. In addition to the General Fund request, it asks for $19,551,886 in State Source Special Funds and $409,109,716 in Other Special Source Funds. The total request is for $649,530,354.

This request represents a $6,786,349 increase over the DMH FY22 appropriations bill, SB2926. This requested increase includes:

  • $1 million expansion for mental health community-based services for data enhancement and utilization review
  • $4,900,389 for the Forensic Services unit at Mississippi State Hospital
  • $885,960 for the Mississippi State Hospital Psychiatry Residency Program

This request includes the continuing efforts on behalf of DMH to shift funds from institutional spending to community-based services spending. From FY12 to FY20, there has been a decrease in institutional care spending of $70,829,115. During that same time frame, there has been an increase in community services spending of $88,838,281. These totals do not represent a $4 million shift from institutions to community that took place in FY21 and a $5.8 million shift from institutions to community taking place in FY22.

In addition, there has been a corresponding decrease in the number of filled positions at DMH’s inpatient and residential programs – from 8,972 in FY09 to 5,167 at the end of FY21.

Future goals for FY22 and FY23 include:

  • Enhance pre-evaluation screening process and strategies to divert from state hospitals
  • Increase Crisis Stabilization Beds and add Certified Peer Support Specialists at all Crisis Stabilization Units
  • Expand Peer Bridger Program to remaining hospitals and CMHCs
  • Launch 988 in Mississippi for behavioral health crisis
  • Add three Navigate programs for young people with first episode psychosis and add Intensive Community Support Services for
    children/youth
  • Enhance funding and training for Mobile Crisis Response Teams
  • Expand access to addiction services
  • Increase availability of crisis services for people with IDD
  • Expand Home and Community Based Services to prevent institutionalization for people with IDD
  • Statewide outreach campaign for service availability

For more information, including highlights from services provided during FY21, see the full Joint Legislative Budget Committee presentation by clicking the link below.

FY23 Budget Request for Joint Legislative Budget Committee