Judge merges 2 Mississippi mental health care suits

A federal judge is ordering that two lawsuits over Mississippi’s mental health system be combined.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker Tuesday agreed to a request for the merger by Mississippi state government. A 2010 lawsuit challenges the state’s mental health care for children, and the federal government sued earlier this year over mental health care for adults.

The central argument in each challenge is that Mississippi relies too much on psychiatric hospitals and doesn’t provide enough care at home or in communities.