Of the 174 members of the Legislature, I wonder just how many of them ever drove just a few miles South of the Capitol at Jackson to actually visit the Whitfield State Hospital for the mentally ill.
Probably just a select few will publicly admit to having done so. If a person ever visits that particular facility, it will have a lasting effect on them no matter if you are Republican, Democrat, or some other persuasion politically.
I will bet that the present plan to cut the budget of State Agencies across the board is not going to affect the way in which the present Administration and Legislative Leaders spend on their own support staffs and perks available at the State Capitol in Jackson. You can bet that Governor Phil Bryant will have the usual detail of bodyguards and support staff at the Governor’s Mansion, and all of the Members of the Senate who voted for SB 2888 (Mental Health Budget (50 votes yes & 0 Votes No.) and House Members (118 Votes yes & 0 Votes No.) will not have any of their allowances cut at all.
Fast forward to the poor and mentally ill that are being treated at Whitfield and at all of the Mental Health Facilities throughout the State of Mississippi. Some estimates for the serious mentally ill within our State range from 7-10% of the approximately 2.9 million residents of adults and children.
Unfortunately, the mentally ill who are presently being treated and those untreated do not have at present a “true champion” in the Mississippi State Senate or House. The mentally ill only have you and me to speak for them!
Perhaps someone who has a “deep feeling within their conscience” will step forward and ask that Governor Bryant call a “special one-day session” to not only cancel any cuts to the mental Health Program, but to look for additional revenues to help the mental health professionals who are both underpaid, and overworked with very large case loads. The Mental health crisis in the State of Mississippi is a real and lasting one that needs immediate attention.
Bob Usey is a former state Senator from Harrison County. He can be reached at email@example.com