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Mental health facilities vital for families, area

Many people may or may not be aware of it, but the gloomyspectre of budget cut reality looms for Brookhaven as state leadersand lawmakers consider funding plans for next year.

Gov. Haley Barbour has asked state lawmakers to submit plans totrim an additional 15 percent off their budgets for fiscal year2012, when a good deal of federal money will no longer be availableto prop up state spending. Ed LeGrand, director of the stateDepartment of Mental Health, and one of the state’s largestagencies, says cuts in that amount would be “devastating.”

The reason the budget situation is important to Brookhaven – andindeed all of Southwest Mississippi – is that two facilitiesmentioned for closure should the budget cuts occur are located inLincoln County.

The Crisis Invention Center, one of seven in the state, and theMississippi Adolescent Center provide a valuable service tomentally impaired citizens not only locally but across the area.The impact of their closures first would be felt by families whoneed and rely on their services for care and treatment of lovedones.

Secondly, directly and indirectly, the closures would hurt economicconditions in the form of jobs provided and local spending.

Closing the two facilities would see around 100 jobs lost andimpact of operating budgets totaling close to $6 million annuallygone. The ripple effects of those happenings could befar-reaching.

Intentionally or unintentionally, many of us may not think too muchabout the two facilities tucked away on Brookman Drive Extension.But their services are vital to families in need, and the economicimpact on this community is a plus for all of us.