Mississippi College Law Review

Publication Date

Fall 2022


Mississippi is one of several states still in violation of federal laws by unnecessarily institutionalizing individuals with serious mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities (“psychiatric vulnerabilities”) and by failing to offer sufficient community-based mental health services. This Comment uses Mississippi’s broken mental healthcare system as a case study to reveal how violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel Zimring, 527 U.S. 581, 597 (1999), not only discriminates against the psychiatrically vulnerable but also fosters racial/ethnic and socioeconomic mental health disparities. Complying with these federal mandates will provide individuals with psychiatric vulnerabilities with the least-restrictive treatment possible, ensuring such individuals are not unnecessarily institutionalized against their will. Furthermore, expanding access to affordable community-based services will increase racial/ethnic and socioeconomic mental healthcare parity. Therefore, this Comment implores states to heed the following call to action: stop violating people’s rights, and put an end to discrimination and disparity.

To comply with the ADA and Olmstead and address these disparities, states such as Mississippi must increase access to community-based mental health services and decrease reliance on institutional care. The following five actions can aid compliance efforts: (1) create an Olmstead plan with measurable goals; (2) increase and reallocate funding for community- based services; (3) improve patient discharge plans and collaboration among state actors; (4) increase telehealth accessibility for mental health services; and (5) expand Medicaid mental health coverage and eligibility.



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