Harrison County supervisors discuss mental health dilemma

Harrison County supervisors discuss mental health dilemma
The Gulf Coast Mental Health Center's Board of Directors notified county leaders this week that they don't have the funding to continue providing services beyond Aug. 11, 2019. (Source: WLOX)

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulf Coast Mental Health Center was a heated topic of conversation at this week’s Harrison County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The facility was within inches of closing just two months ago. At Tuesday’s meeting today the Board of Supervisors agreed to sign a joint letter to send to state legislators now, and again in January, asking for funding.

While the board has made it clear that closing is not an option, the group is still not sure how to handle this crisis.

Supervisor Marlin Ladner made a motion to request the resignation of the board’s appointment to the mental health board, as well as a request that other boards do the same for their appointments to the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center.

“I think as time goes on we look at totally restructuring the board with people that are maybe in the medical field and have some idea more of the physical responsibility," said supervisor Connie Rockco. "I want to keep someone from Harrison County in the position until we decide how we’re going to restructure and how we’re going to make sure that this never happens again.”

The joint letter will be signed by all mental health facilities and hospitals in Harrison County as well as AMR and city and county law enforcement.

Gulf Coast Mental Health Center - which is a multi-county care provider for residents in Harrison, Hancock, Stone, and Pearl River counties - announced last month that it would be closing due to funding.

Since then, multiple agencies and officials have been searching for ways to keep the facility’s doors open. County supervisors across Region 13 - which includes the four counties served by the center - approved a stop-gap measure last month to keep Gulf Coast Mental Health Center facilities open for at least the next three months.

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