• 68°

Job offers await mental health center workers

Mental health workers employed at the Brookhaven CrisisIntervention Center will be let go from state employment to preparethe facility for transition to its new operator, but that operatorplans to enlist their services immediately.

Region 8 Mental Health Services Executive Director Dave Van saidhis agency would extend job offers to any employee at theBrookhaven CIC who wishes to continue working there after theMississippi Department of Mental Health withdraws from thefacilities on Aug. 1.

“We’re offering employment to everybody who wants to stay on,” Vansaid of CIC employees. “I understand some of them have left becauseof the insecurities of what was going to happen, but we’ll hire allthose who want to work for us.”

The Department of Mental Health is shucking oversight of most ofthe state’s crisis centers, but contracting with community mentalhealth centers like Region 8 to run them. The State Personnel BoardThursday approved changes impacting a total of 160 workers atcenters in Brookhaven, Batesville, Corinth, Laurel andCleveland.

Van said Region 8 and other community mental health centerscontracting to run the crisis facilities would have to make somechanges, however, as the department of mental health is cutting thecenters’ appropriation from around $2.3 million to $1.5million.

“Keep in mind we have to trim $800,000 off the budget,” he said.”But to begin with, we’re going to start by offering a job toeveryone who wants to continue employment.”

Region 8 will also begin operating all community mental healthservices in Lincoln County on Oct. 1 after Lincoln Countysupervisors named the region its provider last week. Supervisorssevered a 36-year tie with Southwest Mississippi Community MentalHealth Complex (Region 11) to bring in Region 8, which promised toimprove mental health services on all levels.