Mental health experts concerned about impacts of St. Dominic’s Behavioral Health Services closing
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -St. Dominic Hospital is citing financial challenges as the reason for shutting down its Behavioral Health Services. But there’s an expected domino effect on those who are seeking mental health care.
“It’s just, to me, a big blow to the entire system,” said Executive Director of NAMI Mississippi Sitaniel Wimbley.
But we’re learning that the blow will be especially felt for your loved ones who may be dealing with a mental health crisis.
“The hospital is actually one of the single points of entry that the crisis intervention team takes individuals to,” explained Wimbley. “So, that goes all the way back to 988. So when you call 988, either an officer comes out, or a crisis intervention team will come out, or both. So when someone comes out on the crisis intervention team, if that individual is determined to have to go to a hospital, St. D is one of them.”
The other in the capital city area is Merit Health. And while that impact seems most immediate for the Jackson area, some experts say it has a broader impact.
“Being a part of the mental health community and law enforcement and working with the CIT, Crisis Intervention Team, we know that St. Dominic’s received people from all over the state, especially you talking about the older adults and you know anyone 18 and older,” described Christiane Williams, Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Leadership by Example Mississippi.
It’s leaving other groups looking at how they might could fill in the gap.
“One of the things I will say Hinds Behavioral Health is currently trying to get another stabilization unit open, which will take in some people, some beds, but it’s not going to be the amount that St. Dominic’s had,” added Williams. “We really looking at a mini hospital for what St. Dominic’s was providing for the state of Mississippi.”
Reducing that number of available beds is the biggest concern.
“That’s my fear because the more space the better, especially post-COVID,” added Wimbley. “We know that individuals are struggling more. There are more crisis issues.”
St. Dominic stopped taking admissions at the Behavioral Health unit at 7:00 Tuesday morning. But they say they’ll keep providing treatment for the current inpatients and work to get them to other facilities as needed.
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