State Budget Cuts to Impact Mental Health Facilities

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Department of Mental Health is just one of several state agencies facing deep budget cuts.

There are 12 DMH programs throughout the state that help people with mental illness, substance abuse, and other disabilities and disorders.  We’ve learned most will face cuts, and some could be eliminated altogether.

That call for budget cuts means a reduction in staff and services for the Department of Mental Health.

Eric Seyedin told us that one of those programs saved his life for years ago.

“Alcoholics and addicts don’t necessarily always have their insurance up to date and options can become limited,” Seyedin said.

Sources tell us a program to treat men addicted to drugs and alcohol is one of twelve facing cuts or elimination.

“I was having some problems with drugs and alcohol, and I got to a point in my life where I didn’t know where else to turn,” Seyedin said.

So he turned to a program offered by the state hospital by calling an outreach hotline.

“I was abusing pain pills, opiates, along with alcohol,” Seyedin said.  “It just got to the point where I was walking around not able to do anything else besides put those types of things in my body and it was a miserable existence.”

He was offered one on one treatment, as well as, extended treatment outside of the facility.
State budget cuts will impact the department by about 4.4 percent next year. That translates into more than $8,300.000 in state support.

State budget cuts will impact the department by about 4.4 percent next year. That translates into more than $8,300.000 in state support.

Seydin says he hopes the program that saved his life is spared.

“It changed me for the better. I wasn’t working before I went into this program with the state hospital and my whole way of living was just 180 degrees different than what it was before, and it’s largely in part because of that resource that was available,” Seyedin said. “It’s largely seen as a disease. We don’t cut off treatment for cancer patients, or diabetic patients. Why would we want to discontinue this resource?”

The department sent us a statement that reads, in part:

Because of the reduced funding appropriated for FY17, DMH must close some services. DMH’s goal is to minimize the number of layoffs by offering positions currently on recruitment to staff who work in the programs affected by these cuts. The closure of services and supports will impact local communities throughout the entire state. We expect to provide more information by program location by the close of business today.

In addition to about 4.5 percent being cut from the 2017 fiscal year budget, nearly 2 percent was cut this fiscal year.

We expect to hear soon from the Department of Mental Health exactly which programs will be cut and which will end permanently



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