Judge nears decision on future of state mental health system

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When Michael Hogan was appointed by a federal judge to help craft a road map for the future of Mississippi’s embattled mental health care system, he planned to tour community mental health centers in-person to see the state’s services in action. He hoped to speak to patients and employees — perspectives he said would be vital in charting the Department of Mental Health’s path forward.

That was in early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Hogan, a mental health care veteran with 40 years of experience working across the country, said Monday in federal court his ability to work on the ground has been severely limited in the past year and half.

“I don’t know anything about the situation on the ground, which troubles me some,” he said.

Speaking at a hearing at the United States District Court in Jackson, Hogan said he feels the state has made progress at providing community-based programs for people with mental illness.

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