Legislative Updates

FY24 Budget Request

The Department of Mental Health presented its FY24 budget request to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) on Wednesday, September 21. The General Fund request for FY24 is $247,689,282, an increase of $26,069,536 over the FY23 appropriation provided by SB3027 in the 2022 Legislative Session. This increased request includes:

  • $15 million increase for personnel, with approximately $10.5 million for direct care staff
  • $5,150,000 increase in the Service Budget for mental health community service expansion
  • $4,494,000 increase in the Service Budget for ID/DD Home and Community Based Waiver
  • $1,390,129 increase for the Mississippi State Hospital Psychiatry Residency Program

In addition to General Funds, DMH is requesting $23,852,275 in State Support Special Funds and $432,568,385 in Other Special Funds for a total budget request of $704,109,942. Click here for more information regarding the DMH FY24 JLBC Budget Request.

DMH ARPA COVID Funding – September 2022 Status Update

DMH also provided the JLBC with an update on the status of funding provided through SB 2865, which provided $86 million 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. Below are status updates regarding DMH’s implementation of this funding.

  • 988 Implementation – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July to the two Lifeline Centers in Mississippi, and both responded. The RFPs have a specific outcome of increasing staffing levels and technology at the Lifeline Centers to respond to the increase call volume with the launch of 988 on July 16, 2022. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly outcome reports will be required of the Lifeline Centers.
  • Mobile Crisis Response Teams – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July with the specific outcome of expanding the response capabilities of the Mobile Crisis Response Teams in anticipation of additional need with the launch of 988 on July 16. All 13 Community Mental Health Centers responded to the RFP. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly
    outcome reports will be required of the CMHCs.
  • Crisis Services (SMI) – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July to the CMHCs listed above for the expansion of Crisis Stabilization Units/Beds. Region 8 has not responded to the RFP due to meeting with local county officials to try and secure a location and funding to renovate the location. Region 12 is in the process of revising the budget for the Diversion Center. In DMH’s proposal, the funding would only be used for direct services, not renovations. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly outcome reports will be required of the CMHCs.
  • Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Training – In the first half of FY23, DMH will partner with law enforcement to host a train‐the‐trainer and in the second half of FY23 DMH and trained partners will begin providing the training to approximately 300 people. The coordination of these efforts will be handled by DMH with existing staff.
  • Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement – In the first half of FY23, DMH will hire a contract position to coordinate all CIT efforts. This will include the coordination of CIT trainings and the establishment of three CIT programs. The Request for Applications was issued on August 22 and will close on September 7. The selection process will be finalized September 19 and the CIT Coordinator will begin October 1.
  • Peer Support Services – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July with the specific outcome of developing a Peer Respite Program. Three providers responded to the RFP. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Grants will be awarded for the development of three Peer Respite Programs. Monthly outcome reports will be required.
  • Court/Law Enforcement/Hospital Liaisons – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July with the specific outcome of the CMHCs hiring 18 court/hospital/law enforcement liaisons to divert people from the commitment process. The location of the 18 liaisons is based on the number of commitments and population by county. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly outcome reports will be required.
  • Intensive Community Support Specialists for Children and Youth – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July with the specific outcome of employment of an ICSS for the CMHCs that do not currently have an ICSS dedicated to children and youth (Regions 4, 9, 10, 15 and an additional ICSS for Regions 6 and 12 due to the size of the catchment area). This would allow the service to be available in all CMHC regions. Region 10/Weems Community Mental Health Center declined to apply due to staffing shortages. With the addition of these ICSS programs, every CMHC excluding Region 10, will operate and be able to provide ICSS to children and families statewide. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly outcome reports will be required.
  • Adolescent Offender Program – Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July with the specific outcome of developing an Adolescent Offender Program in all 13 CMHC regions. All CMHCs responded to the RFP with the exception of Region 10/Weems Community Mental Health Center. Region 10 submitted a letter stating lack of staff prohibited their application. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements
    are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly outcome reports will be required.
  • Crisis Services (IDD) – A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July for four, four‐bed and one six‐bed Crisis Diversion Homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At a rate of $302.23 per day, with a rate of $465 when one‐on‐one 2022 Legislative Update supervision is required, there was only one response to the RFP. Due to this, DMH changed direction and is providing funding for individual crisis beds at provider certified by DMH and issuing a revised RFP. The RFPs are being reviewed by Horne LLP to ensure all ARPA requirements are met before the grants are awarded. Monthly outcome reports will be required.The six‐bed Crisis Diversion Home at Boswell Regional Center opened the end of August. Monthly outcome reports will be required.

    DMH is in the process of finalizing a contract for the three‐year plan for consultation and technical support in the design and implementation of a pilot program for individuals with IDD and mental health service needs and training to develop the expertise needed to provide effective crisis supports to people with intellectual/developmental disability and mental health needs. DMH anticipates the contract to be finalized and work to begin by November.

2022 Legislative Session 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