Gov. Bryant criticizes mental health as department defends itself

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Gov. Phil Bryant is reiterating his position that Mississippi’s mental health department isn’t doing enough to get people out of institutions.

Mental health officials, though, say the department continues moving toward helping people live in their communities and not in institutions.

Bryant told reporters Friday that he would still prefer to be put directly in charge of the department, now overseen by a board he appoints. Legislators rejected such a move this year. In the meantime, the Republican governor says he will focus on board appointments.

The comments come after a consulting report was finally released after a case was settled involving juvenile mental health services. The Clarion-Ledger repeatedly sought the report’s release in court.

The department says it has made improvements since the report was written three years ago.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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