August 3, 2020

Psychiatric facility planned for former hospital campus in southwest Mississippi

A non-profit group plans to place a psychiatric care facility in the old doctors’ pavilion near the former Natchez Community Hospital, Adams County officials said.

The group called A Clear Path: Southwest Mississippi Behavioral Health provides behavioral and mental health services to several Mississippi counties, including Adams County and relies on government grants, Medicaid and private dollars.

A Clear Path wants to utilize an $800,000 grant to create a Crisis Stabilization Unit that is certified to hold eight beds and provide in-patient care for individuals in psychiatric distress, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said during a Thursday meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

Though the plans for the new facility had not been finalized as of Thursday, officials said it would be beneficial and could save the county money to have a treatment center for patients with nowhere else to go but to the Adams County Jail until they can be transported to the Mississippi State Hospital in Whitfield, Mississippi.

Previously, A Clear Path had proposed rezoning the former Elks Club building on Lower Woodville Road from a neighborhood business to a general business for the new facility.

However, following several objections from neighborhood residents, the rezoning request was shut down by the Natchez Planning Commission.

“I know they’ve run into a little opposition, but I want to let the community know that I support what they’re doing 100%,” Patten said during Thursday’s meeting. “That area was already designated for medical services and there is a need for a CSU.”

Adams County Attorney Scott Slover said the new location is in the correct zone and had been utilized for the same purpose when it was the Natchez Community Hospital and therefore it wouldn’t need zoning approval from the city.

Slover said that with the grant, A Clear Path is just shy of the full budget they would need for the facility by approximately $150,000.

No financial commitment from the Board of Supervisors had been made to A Clear Path as of Thursday’s meeting.

Currently there is no CSU in Adams County, Slover said, adding that patients who are not criminal are temporarily housed in the jail until they can be transported.

Slover said the unit would also benefit the surrounding region, not just Adams County.

“We already have a team on sheriff’s office deputies who are trained to de-escalate and to address their serious mental illness, and (the CSU) would put them in a place where they could start receiving treatment immediately,” Slover said.