Mississippi mental health agency getting new leader in 2021

Mississippi mental health agency getting new leader in 2021
In this Aug. 23, 2016 photo, Mississippi Department of Mental Health executive director Diana Mikula is photographed at a bipartisan legislative working group's hearing at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 Mikula announced she will retire Jan. 31 as the state continues to face a federal court order to improve community-based services. (Source: (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File))

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The leader of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health is retiring Jan. 31.

Diana Mikula has been executive director since 2014. She announced her retirement plans to the state Board of Mental Health on Thursday.

Members chose another longtime employee to become executive director. Wendy Bailey is currently deputy director for administrative services.

The Department of Mental Health is under a federal court order to improve community-based services.

Mikula testified in 2019 that state funding has been a challenge. Although legislators put more money into community-based services, they cut the overall level of mental health spending.