Gov. Jay Nixon today met with law enforcement officers, educators and mental health providers in Jefferson County to discuss his proposals to help those with mental illness get timely, effective treatment in their communities and provide law enforcement with the training and resources they need to respond to persons experiencing a mental health crisis.
"Right now, many people with severe mental illness only get treatment when they reach a crisis point," Gov. Nixon said. "That's too late. My budget proposal strengthens our mental health system and enhances public safety by expanding access to mental health services and providing law enforcement officers with additional training and resources to identify and respond to signs of severe mental illness."
Joining the Governor at the roundtable were Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Jerry Lee, Missouri Department of Mental Health Director Dr. Keith Schafer, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey, Fox C-6 School District Superintendent Dr. Dianne Critchlow and Dr. Stephen Huss, president and CEO of COMTREA (Community Treatment Inc.).
The Governor's budget proposes an additional $10 million to strengthen Missouri's mental health system, including $3.6 million to place Mental Health Liaisons at each of the 29 Community Mental Health Centers across Missouri. These mental health professionals will work with courts, law enforcement, and families to help individuals with mental illness receive proper treatment.
To provide additional training to law enforcement and others, the Governor's budget proposal includes $450,000 to help educate and train more teachers, law enforcement, clergy, employers and families on how to recognize, respond to and care for those with mental illness through Crisis Intervention and Mental Health First-Aid training.
Mental Health First-Aid training will be targeted toward groups that are likely to encounter people in mental health crises - teachers, law enforcement, clergy, and employers - so they can identify and respond to the early warning signs of mental illness.
The Governor's budget also includes $6 million to fund emergency room intervention teams. These teams of mental health professionals could respond quickly when an emergency room requests assistance, and begin working with a patient to coordinate care. The Missouri Department of Mental Health estimates that 1,100 people could be assisted through this initiative each year.
These funding proposals were included in the Governor's recommended balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which has been presented to the General Assembly.
To learn more about the Governor's balanced budget proposal, please visit MO.gov.