Executive Director of MEMA says PTSD, alcohol reasons he resigne - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Executive Director of MEMA says PTSD, alcohol reasons he resigned

Former executive director Lee Smithson. Source: MEMA website Former executive director Lee Smithson. Source: MEMA website
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has resigned as of Friday, May 11.

According to Director of Communications Clay Chandler, Governor Phil Bryant accepted Lee Smithson's resignation Friday morning as a result of being made aware of a situation he was involved in.

Smithson released a statement about his resignation.

"After deploying to Iraq and responding to the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For years, I failed to pursue treatment, believing I could handle this on my own. My coping mechanism was alcohol. The stress of running the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency only compounded my issues. For the past year, I have been receiving treatment for PTSD. However, my dependence on alcohol has affected my ability to properly run our state’s emergency management agency. In consultation with Governor Bryant, he and I both believe the best thing for my family, me and the people of Mississippi is for me to step down from MEMA and focus on my physical and mental health. It has been a true honor to serve the people of Mississippi during times of disaster. My family and I ask for prayers and privacy as I start my journey to recovery. They have been my greatest supporters in this difficult decision"

According to MEMA's website, Bryant appointed Smithson as the Executive Director of MEMA on December 15, 2015 and he assumed the role on February 1, 2016.

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