The U. S. Department of Justice wants Ellisville State School and the other state-operated regional mental health facilities to revamp the way they educate children.
In a report issued following an investigation into the state’s mental health system, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said children residing on the campus should be educated in public schools. The report expressed concern that children are often “unnecessarily institutionalized” and placed in “harmful” environments.
According to the findings released in December, children “learn through modeling and imitation and, as a result, need positive role models who mentor, teach skills, and encourage appropriate social interaction with others.
Children in institutional settings are deprived of these normalizing experiences and, instead, are surrounded by other children with disabilities, and isolated from family, friends, and children without disabilities.”
Ellisville State School (ESS) is one of six state-operated regional facilities providing comprehensive services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are a part of the state’s mental health system which has been under federal scrutiny for years.
In mid-December, the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent its investigation findings to former Gov. Haley Barbour which pointed out problems in the mental health system and what steps need to be made to correct them. According to DOJ findings, the mental health system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by unnecessarily institutionalizing thousands of Mississippians with disabilities or mental illness.
“Hundreds of those who are unnecessarily institutionalized in Mississippi in violation of the ADA are children with disabilities,” the report states. “Removing children from family, friends and school is an ineffective mode of treatment because it is difficult for children to transfer the skills that they learn back to the home environment where they will have to employ them.”
The report further points out that even worse, “youth in congregate settings often learn new negative behaviors from one another, rather than learning skills to help them manage behavior and mental illness.”
- 11. Mental Health as a National Health Priority – Ottawa 2012 – Liberal Biennial Convention | Congrès biennal libéral – Ottawa 2012 (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- Shattering the Mental Health Stigma (patheos.com)
- Mental Health Awareness Week… (parentingintheloop.wordpress.com)