TUPELO • William Rosamond, an attorney with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, has been appointed to evaluate the quality of mental health care in Mississippi communities and possibly change mental health services offered in certain counties.
Liz Welch, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, recently appointed Rosamond to become the state’s coordinator of mental health accessibility, a new position in state government.
“He brings to the table legal experience as well as mental health experience, and that is why he was chosen for this position,” said Gloria Reyes, a spokesperson for the DFA.
Rosamond has served as a special assistant attorney general for the state and has provided legal counsel for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. He did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
He will now play a vital role in reshaping the state’s mental health services and will have the authority to evaluate which mental health services are offered in counties, review financial statements, and move counties to a different community mental health region if a certain region’s services are inadequate.
State lawmakers created the coordinator position this past year to improve the quality of mental health in the state. State Sen. Hob Bryan, a Democrat from Amory, authored the legislation that created the coordinator position and told the Daily Journal that he believes Rosamond is qualified for this position.
“He essentially has the authority to close a community mental health system,” Bryan said. “I don’t think that’s going to occur, but having that authority gives him the gravitas to find out what’s needed.”
Bryan, who is the chair of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, said he hoped that Rosamond’s findings will improve the quality of mental health care that citizens receive but also resolve some issues the state is dealing with in an ongoing federal lawsuit.
In September 2019, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that the state’s mental health system was in violation of the American Disabilities Act because there were inadequate resources in Mississippi to adequately treat people with mental illnesses. The state is in the process of complying with the court’s order to improve mental health services.
Rosamond has been involved in parts of this litigation as a special assistant attorney general, but both Bryan and Reyes believe that Rosamond can perform his job well and offer an objective analysis of the quality of mental health services in the state.
“Whatever desire of having someone independent of the department of mental health there is, it is far offset by his existing knowledge,” Bryan said.
Adam Moore, the planning and communications director for the department of mental health, said that the department of mental health has worked to improve the quality of its services and will look forward to seeing the assessment of the state’s mental health system that Rosamond will conduct.
“We want to support the continuation and development of services and support in local communities that can help Mississippians on their road to recovery and living successfully in the community,” Moore said.
Rosamond will continue to be an employee of the finance and administration department and work independently from the department of mental health.