Mississippi gov: Feds seek to dictate mental health policy

AP News
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Posted: Aug 11, 2016 6:10 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is criticizing the U.S. Justice Department for suing the state over adult mental health services.

The Republican calls the lawsuit "another attempt by the federal government to dictate policy to the states through the courts."

The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, says Mississippi is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by "unnecessarily and illegally" making mentally ill people go into state-run psychiatric hospitals.

It says the state has failed to provide community-based services that would allow people with mental illnesses to have meaningful interaction with friends and family and to make decisions about work and daily life. It also says life in an institution leads to stigma, isolation and learned helplessness.

Mental health advocates have long pushed for community-based services in a state with a tight budget.