JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri – Nearly a quarter of Missouri’s adult population suffered from mental illness last year, according to the state’s Department of Mental Health.
A Republican lawmaker wants the state to discuss what needs to be done to make it easier for the Missouri people to access resources. Last year, more than one million Missouri residents struggled with mental illness. That’s more than 100,000 adults as of 2019. Senator Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield) said where the state lacks resources is access and response time.
“I think our mental health system is there, I think the framework is there, and I think the providers are there, but we need to have real talks about access,” Hough said Monday.
The past 18 months have affected everyone in one way or another.
“When you are often isolated, many of us have tried to be sure we were trying to do the right thing, but that not only challenges you but also your loved ones,” said Hough.
Over the years, the number of adults in Missouri suffering from mental illness has increased, according to Missouri’s Behavioral Health Department. In 2016, 862,000 Missouri residents struggled with mental illness. Three years later, in 2019, there were 925,000 and in 2020 again 1,056,000.
According to the ministry, mental illness is higher in young adults at 31% than in adults over 25 at 21%. Here in Missouri, both rates are about three percentage points above the national rates.
“I don’t want people turned away for taking this step to say I need help,” said Hough. “There is not a single silver bullet that fixes all of this. This is a complicated and complex disease and manifests itself differently in different people. “
Hough, who advocated Mental Health Awareness Week last week, said in an editorial letter that this “silent epidemic” in Missouri needs attention.
“I want people in this state not to have to wait for access to mental health,” Hough said. “I don’t want to see anyone come up and say they either need someone to talk to or some kind of intervention. I don’t want them to be turned away for any reason. “
He said there has been significant investment in mental health care over the years. Hough said Missouri has worked between Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Certified Community Behavioral Health Organizations (CCBHO), which focus on diagnosing physical and mental health. This has resulted in lower overall health care costs with fewer emergency rooms and inpatient stays, Hough’s letter said.
“I want to work with provider networks that we have across the state and I want to find out where those loopholes are,” said Hough. “We can’t just throw money for that, but if there are things we can do through the budget, through the approval process. I want to make sure that the providers have the necessary resources to take care of the people in this state. “
Compared to last year, the state increased DMH’s budget by more than $ 300 million to build six new mental health and drug use crisis centers. Of the 2.74 billion
If you or someone you know is looking for resources, visit dmh.mo.gov for help.
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