Legislative Democrats call for special session to address MS mental health 'crisis'

Legislative Democrats call for special session to address MS mental health 'crisis'

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - This week, we have been reporting on looming budget cuts coming to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

The agency announced Wednesday it will be closing two chemical dependency units for men, because the state is pulling $8 million of funding in this round of cuts.

Individuals who are put out by the budget cuts will now have to look elsewhere for the help they need. Many believe the cuts will actually lead to more strain on Mississippi taxpayers.

Friday, Mississippi legislative Democrats, including several from the Gulf Coast, penned an open letter to Gov. Phil Bryant calling for a special session to find additional funding to deal with the crisis.

You can read the full letter here:

Dear Governor Bryant, 

It is no secret that the state of Mississippi has had to make difficult budgetary decisions this legislative session. We understand that there are sacrifices that all Mississippians are called to make, and no one is more aware of this reality than the men and women who work in the field of mental health. 

Speak with any of Mississippi’s hard working mental health workers, and they will acknowledge that they have stretched to make things work. However, this recent round of cuts has simply gone too far. Mississippi is in serious danger of losing its matching federal funds for services. We are in crisis; there is no other word to describe it.

With the loss of matching funds will come even more consequential cuts to necessary services. People in need of rehabilitation and medical care will instead end up in prison, where they will not receive treatment, but become an additional burden on the taxpayers of Mississippi. These cuts will undoubtedly lead to significantly more costs—economic and human-- in the very near future. 

Accordingly, we, the undersigned members of the Mississippi legislature, feel compelled to ask you to call a special session for the purpose of finding additional funding to deal with this crisis.
 

Sincerely, 

Ed LeGrand
Former Executive Director
MS Dept. of Mental Health

Senator John Horhn, District 26
Senate Minority Leader

David Baria, District 122
House Minority Leader
 
Sonya Williams-Barnes
Legislative Black Caucus Chair

Senator Juan Barnett, District 34
Senator Barbara Blackmon, District 21
Senator David Blount, District 29
Senator Hob Bryan, District 7
Senator Albert Butler, District 36
Senator Deborah Dawkins, District 48
Senator Bob Dearing, District 37
Senator Hillman Frazier, District 27
Senator Robert L. Jackson, District 11 
Senator Sampson Jackson II, District 32
Senator Russell Jolly, District 8
Senator David L. Jordan, District 24
Senator Sollie B. Norwood, District 28
Senator Derrick T. Simmons, District 12
Senator Willie Simmons, District 13
Senator Bill Stone, District 10
Senator Angela Turner, District 16
Senator Tammy F. Witherspoon, District 38

Rep. Jeramey D. Anderson, District 110
Rep. Willie. L. Bailey, District 49
Rep. Nick Bain, District 2
Rep. Earle S. Banks, District 67
Rep. Christopher M. Bell, District 65
Rep. Edward Blackmon, Jr., District 57
Rep. Cedric Burnett, District 9
Rep. Credell Calhoun, District 68
Rep. Bryant W. Clark, District 47
Rep. Alyce Griffin Clarke, District 69
Rep. Oscar Denton, District 55
Rep. Jarvis Dortch, District 66
Rep. Tyrone Ellis, District 38
Rep. Bob Evans, District 91
Rep. Michael T. Evans, District 45
Rep. John G. Faulkner, District 5
Rep. Karl Gibbs, District 36
Rep. John W. Hines, District 50
Rep. Steve Holland, District 16
Rep. Gregory Holloway, Sr., District 76
Rep. Kevin Horan, District 34
Rep. Robert E. Huddleston, District 30
Rep. J.P. Hughes, Jr., District 12
Rep. Lataisha Jackson, District 11
Rep. Robert L. Johnson III, District 94
Rep. Kabir Karriem, District 41
Rep. America “Chuck” Middleton, District 85
Rep. Tom Miles, District 75
Rep. David W. Myers, District 98
Rep. Orlando W. Paden, District 26
Rep. Willie J. Perkins, Sr., District 32
Rep. Tommy Reynolds, District 33
Rep. Omeria Scott, District 80
Rep. Rufus E. Straughter, District 51
Rep. Preston E. Sullivan, District 22
Rep. Kathy Sykes, District 70
Rep. Sara Richardson Thomas, District 31
Rep. Kenneth Walker, District 27
Rep. Percy W. Watson, District 103
Rep. Adrienne Wooten, District 71
Rep. Charles Young, Jr., District 82

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