Mental health care in Mississippi sees significant increase in services and support | Mississippi News

Grow Therapy’s expansion aims to increase profits in the state by bridging the gap between therapists and people seeking mental health care.

Grow Therapy today announced the expansion of its services to multiple states across the country. The expansion includes availability in 22 new states, including Mississippi, bringing Grow Therapy services to 36 states.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 31,000 adults in Mississippi have a mental illness. As of February 2021, 42.7% of Mississippi adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, while 21.1% were unable to receive needed counseling or therapy.

Adam Moore, director of planning and communications at the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH), said about Mississippi in general that a good resource that provides a look at mental health services in the state is the Mental Health America 2023 State of Mental Health in is America report released by MHA in October.

The report ranks all 50 states and Washington, DC based on 15 mental health measures and adult and adolescent access. In the overall rankings, Mississippi ranks 25th, an improvement from last year when Mississippi was 36th, and a significant improvement if you go back more than a decade when Mississippi was 40th in 2011.

Many of the interventions are graded based on reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).

Additional stats from the MHA report:

  • Adult Ranking – Mississippi is 28th compared to 41st in the previous report. This measure compares the prevalence of mental illness and access to medical care.
  • Youth Ranking – Mississippi ranks 19th compared to 16th in the previous report. This measure compares the prevalence of mental illness and access to medical care.
  • Access to Care – Mississippi is 42nd compared to 47th in the previous report. The Access to Care ranking indicates how much access there is to mental health care in a state, including access to insurance, access to treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and availability of a mental health workforce.
  • Prevalence of Mental Illness in Adults – Mississippi ranks 18th compared to 19th in the previous report.
  • The report finds that 21% of adults, more than 50 million Americans, suffer from a mental illness. Additionally, information previously compiled by SAMHSA estimated that approximately 446,000 adults over the age of 18 in Mississippi had a mental illness in the past year, while 116,000 had a major mental illness in the past year.
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Jake Cooper, CEO and co-founder of Grow Therapy, said its launch in Mississippi means more opportunities for people to access affordable mental health care and for providers to open their own private practice on the network.

“Grow Therapy can help provide affordable access to mental health care through commercial insurance or cash,” Cooper said. “Grow Therapy providers cover a wide range of mental health needs, from lower acuteness ‘mental maintenance’ to higher acuteness, psychiatric care and medication management.”

When asked what made Mississippi an attractive state to adopt this expansion, Cooper said it was because the state ranked 42nd for access to mental health care and access to insurance, access to treatment, the quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and labor availability.

Cooper added that Mississippi reports a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care compared to the national average, as described in The State Of Mental Health In America, 2022.

“We see expanding into Mississippi as an incredible opportunity to provide Mississippi residents with access to critical mental health care while allowing independent therapists to open their own private practice and serve the communities that matter most to them,” stated Cooper.

Grow Therapy’s CEO and co-founder said they are on a mission to bridge the gap between therapists and people seeking mental health care.

“Unfortunately, that gap has only widened since the onset of the pandemic as vendors have struggled to keep up with the dramatic increase in demand,” Cooper said. “By removing barriers for both consumers and providers, we are making progress to reduce the deficit.”

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Clients looking for a therapist can start by going to growtherapy.com. From there, they choose their state and insurance or cash, and their type of care, or whether they want in-person or remote sessions.

“They can browse and learn more about each and every therapist that matches their search criteria and book an appointment,” Cooper explained.Most therapists are available within 48 hours. If clients are unsure who is best for them, they can speak to Grow Therapy’s matching team who will help them find a therapist that fits their needs. And if it doesn’t fit perfectly, the matching team will work with them to find a better fit.”

Moore gave a brief overview of some community services designed to enable people to continue living in their communities without requiring inpatient enrollment in a DMH program.

In fiscal 2011, there were no supported employment, assisted living, certified peer support specialists, or crisis intervention teams in the state that DMH sponsored. In FY22, these services exist and served the following number of people in FY22:

  • 219 people were employed in the community through Supported Employment.
  • 239 people were accommodated through the CHOICE residential program.
  • At the end of FY22, 201 certified peer support specialists were employed.
  • There are now eight fully operational crisis intervention teams in the state. CITs are partnerships between local law enforcement and local mental health providers whose members have completed a 40-hour training course.

In FY11 there were 128 crisis stabilization beds in the community, now there are 184. In recent years, six new units have been added, serving 3,108 people in FY22 and preventing 90% of them from being admitted to a higher level of care.

Additionally, in fiscal 2011, Mississippi had no mobile crisis response teams. These are also multidisciplinary teams providing mobile crisis and evaluation services. There are now 14 teams nationwide. They had 30,571 calls, contacts, and follow-ups in FY22, of which 11,657 were face-to-face interactions.

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