Mental health facility sets January opening

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000
DEKALB A mental health facility in planning stages for about five years and under construction for more than a year is now complete and scheduled to open in January.
Located on Birch Street, Kemper County Group Homes one building for female clients and one for males will provide housing for up to 20 people with mental illnesses that are "serious and persistent," said Roger McMurtry, director of the Bureau of Mental Health with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
Serious depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, are illnesses falling under this
Construction began on the homes shortly after Thanksgiving last year. The homes cost between $800,000 and $900,000 to build and have an operating budget of a little more than $500,000, McMurtry said. They were scheduled to open by the end of October.
The building for female clients will be opened first.
By the middle of next year, McMurtry said the homes will employ 30 people.
Seventy similar facilities, part of the East Mississippi State Hospital network, have been funded statewide, but most of them house clients in mental retardation programs rather than mental illness programs, McMurtry said.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at