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Bishop named to Region 8 commission

Lincoln County’s representative to its new mental healthprovider is someone who works very, very closely with the treatmentprocess.

Lincoln County supervisors have appointed Lincoln County ChanceryClerk Tillmon Bishop as commissioner to Region 8 Mental HealthServices, giving the county a voice in the administration of theprovider with great knowledge of how mental health care isadministered. He will join the five-member commission for the firsttime at its end-of-the-month meeting in late October.

“I’ll be able to have direct input in assisting all five counties,including Lincoln County, in making sure those who need mentalhealth treatment have access to it,” Bishop said.

One of Bishop’s regular duties as chancery clerk is to organizecommitment hearings for the mentally ill, and it’s a duty that isquite regular. The chancery clerk’s office has administered morethan 100 commitment hearings so far in 2011, and it’s not uncommonfor the office to arrange as many as three hearings a day.

“The chancery clerk’s office is not the only candidate forcommissioner, but it’s a good candidate simply because of the jobdescription,” Bishop said.

Bishop’s appointment to the Region 8 commission makes him thesecond chancery clerk serving on that body behind longtimecommissioner Steve Amos, the Copiah County clerk. Amos testified tothe unique position chancery clerks have in serving as mentalhealth commissioners.

“We have hands-on, on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “We know what’sgoing on in our counties and we know what our counties need. We canget up and explain a few more things to them as to how it works andthe people coming in, and there’s more people than youthink.”

Region 8 Executive Director Dave Van said his organization wouldlean on Bishop’s knowledge of Lincoln County as it assembles mentalhealth services for the area.

“He can give us some direction as it relates to services that needto be acquired if not already existing,” he said. “He can pinpointwhere the needs are for Lincoln County citizens better than someonewho does not have as much knowledge of the community and theprocess.”

The five-member commission – assembled by appointment ofsupervisors in each of Region 8’s member counties – is composed oftwo chancery clerks, two former superintendents of education andone lawyer.

The commission is chaired by former superintendent Melvin Ray,representing Madison County. Simpson County’s commissioner isClifton Reed, also a former superintendent. Rankin attorney JasonWomack represents that county, with Amos and Bishop filling thefinal two seats for Copiah and Lincoln counties, respectively.