Mental health resources available in Mississippi

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 9:09 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mental illness continues to plague teenagers throughout the country, including here in Mississippi.

An estimated 27,000 Mississippians ages 12-17 suffer from depression.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, many of these young people received no care in the past year.

Wendy Bailey is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. She says some young people never get the help they need, so she and her team are working to change that. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one and five children ages 13 to 18 will have a serious mental illness.

“Statistics show that about 50% of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 14, and 75% start before the age of 24,” said Bailey. “That’s why it is important to focus on early intervention as well as prevention efforts.”

Bailey says state lawmakers recently allocated funding to provide more services and resources in communities.

“One is intensive community support services, our intensive community support specialist. There is group therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, particularly at the community mental health centers. The funds will also be going to add an adolescent offender program. This will provide an alternative to lengthen stays at the juvenile detention centers.”

Mental Health Awareness Facilitator Christiane Williams is the coordinator of Leading by Example organization that provides mental health education and training across the state. She says it will take everyone working together to break the mental health stigma to help young people like Calvin Berry.

Berry is one of two teenagers arrested following a shooting at the Mississippi Mudbug Festival last week.

His grandmother told 3 on your side her grandson’s late father tried to get him emotional help after he was arrested the first time.

Williams says it’s not too late to get him help behind bars.

“It’s going to start from the officers there, making sure he’s getting the medical, psychological attention, and educational background,” says Williams. “What he would’ve gotten outside, unfortunately, has to be in the inside, so when he’s released, he can go back into an environment that is conducive.”

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