Area does have mental health services

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 24, 2008

I read with great interest the article written by Adam Koob, “Bill to aid mental health”, in the February 22nd edition of The Democrat. Reading this article, one would think that Adams County has neither previously nor currently had mental health services.

Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex has provided community mental health services in Adams County for over 30 years. We currently provide outpatient mental health and substance abuse services, an Elderly Services program and a Day Support program in Adams County. During our 2007 fiscal year, we employed 23 staff and served 1,064 clients in Adams County.

What has been lacking is inpatient psychiatric beds, not mental health services. While inpatient psychiatric beds will be a valuable treatment resource, the vast majority of individuals who need mental health services have received, and will continue to receive, these services on an outpatient basis.

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Additionally, it is my hope that, like the services provided through our agency, these inpatient beds will be available to all who have need of them, regardless of their possession of insurance or ability to pay. Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex is not a state agency, and the major portion of our expenses are covered through fees generated for services provided. Nevertheless, we have demonstrated a commitment to serve all who need mental health services within the resources we have available to us.

Lastly, I would like to welcome Ms. Opal Vines to our Board of Commissioners. In the 18 years I have been employed at this agency, Adams County has been ably represented on our Board by Judge John Tipton, Gwen Turner, Fay Minor and Sharon Johnson. The staff and I look forward to working with Ms. Vines, who has demonstrated a commitment to mental health services and the energy necessary to be a successful advocate for them.

Steve Ellis, Ph.D.

licensed psychologist, executive director

Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex