HARRISON CO., Miss. (WLOX) - After news about the potential closure of the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center spread last week, many residents and county leaders were not happy with the idea of losing a community resource.
The Harrison County board of supervisors met Monday to make a decision on how to keep the doors of the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center open.
The center was reportedly closing due to reports of major financial troubles, citing a lack of funding. Employees with the center were notified last Thursday about the closure.
The board made a decision to put $700,000 upfront from the 2020 budget to fund the center. It serves Harrison, Hancock, Stone and Pearl River counties.
A different mental health region will also be brought in to assist with billing and reimbursements. Supervisors said that likely will be Pine Belt Mental Healthcare.
The board has to make a decision by Tuesday afternoon in order for the center to receive $1.5 million of its 2020 funding in advance from the state department of mental health.
Supervisors said the goal following this will be to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
“I think we’re going to be more apt to monitor the situation. We’ll be getting more reports from the commission, which is responsible for all the mental health services in this county and the other counties,” said supervisor and board president Marlin Ladner. “I think all the board of supervisors will be cognizant to what happens and we’re going to be more alert to any problems that potentially could exist.”
Supervisors said ensuring the center continues providing services to the community was critical.
“It’s everything from the counselors in the schools to the medications to the drop in centers. I mean, you would just be amazed at the services they provide, and to me they’re all core services,” said supervisor Beverly Martin.
“Mental Health services are critical for our community, and it was important that it stayed open. That’s why we contacted the state and got financial assistance from them. So, we will stay open, and that’s the most important thing that services will not be interrupted,” said Ladner.
The other three boards of supervisors will meet Monday night to determine how much in funding they will contribute and finalize the decision.
Gulf Coast Mental Health Center offers outpatient services to residents in the four counties, which includes a medication clinic and case management for children and adults. Those locations are:
- Harrison County Main Office, 1600 Broad Ave, Gulfport
- Biloxi Satellite Office, 228 Rue Petit Bois, Biloxi
- Hancock County Satellite Office, 819-B Central Ave., Bay St. Louis
- Pearl River County Satellite Office, 211 Hwy. 11 South, Picayune
- Stone County Satellite Office, 200 Coastal Paper Ave., Wiggins
The full statement from the board of supervisors can be found below: