Missouri mental health ranks average despite initiative program

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - This week people across the country are celebrating mental illness awareness and the programming that serves the communities in need of help.  Gov. Jay Nixon is trying to ensure Missourians are receiving the mental care they need as Monday marked the two-year anniversary of his Strengthening Mental Health Initiative program.

The concept of the initiative developed from the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

The programming was funded through $10 million from the fiscal budget.

Nixon’s program included the hiring of 31 liaisons that work in partnership with law enforcement to direct people to the appropriate avenues for treatment. Law enforcement has undergone training on how to manage mental crisis situations and there are family-to-family courses in conjunction with non-profit organizations. Those classes have been established to help family and friends of those in need understand the signs of illness and how to best provide support to loved ones.

A 2015 study by Mental Health America measured the state of mental health care in all 50 states. Missouri ranks 22 on that list of states with the highest need. Missouri falls in the average margins.