2011 News Releases

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Dealing with depression difficult in workplace

By DIANE STAFFORD
The Kansas City Star
The way Ryan Lefebvre remembers it, fellow baseball broadcaster Fred White looked at him and asked, “Are you OK? No, really, are you OK?”
And the dam broke.
That serious, caring question by a co-worker was what it took for Lefebvre to let his depression spill out.
But that kind of question — and an honest response — isn’t easy to ask or answer in the workplace.
Social stigmas about mental disease, legal cautions about not violating health privacy laws, fear of job repercussions and disinclination to stick noses in someone else’s business all conspire to prevent such interactions at work.
Lefebvre — a former ball player and guy who on the surface “had it all” — shared the story of his chronic, severe depression this week with a group of about 200 Kansas City area human resource practitioners.
It was a timely presentation in a community stunned by the recent depression-related suicide of television meteorologist Don Harman, as well as the deaths of other people in less-publicized circumstances, some spurred by job loss, financial loss or personal plights.
Their deaths leave colleagues wondering: What did I miss? What could I have done?
“It wasn’t a co-worker’s responsibility to ‘fix’ me,” Lefebvre emphasized, but it was invaluable that a colleague saw that something wasn’t right with him and spoke up.
Clare Miller, director of the national Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, said it’s especially tough for men to speak out about depression, “and most people aren’t sure exactly what to do when we see symptoms.”
The symptoms are rife. About 58 million Americans — 1 in 4 adults — experience mental health impairments in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
For about 15 million of them, the impairment is major depression, a serious mental illness that can interfere with thinking, behavior, mood, energy level and physical health.
“Co-workers shouldn’t feel pressured to solve the problem,” advised Nancy Spangler, a Kansas City consultant to the mental health partnership. “They’re not trained to diagnose or respond in the best way.”
But given that work consumes many people’s waking hours, co-workers are as likely as anyone to detect an individual’s serious depression, a medical condition that usually is treatable with medication and counseling.
Unfortunately, “it’s a sticky wicket” to talk about mental health issues at work, Spangler acknowledged.
“Co-workers are legally free to say, ‘Hey, you seem depressed,’ but supervisors need to be more careful when discussing health issues,” she said.
When confronted with a co-worker or employee who appears to be having mental health problems, the key to expressing concern — but avoiding legal hassles — is to focus on performance, experts say.
“Tell the person what you observe and that it concerns you,” Spangler said.
A sample best-case approach for a supervisor might be: “We notice you’re missing deadlines. That’s not your style. We’re worried about it.”
A co-worker might say: “I notice you’re not joining us for lunch anymore. It worries me to see you withdraw.”
But there’s no one-size-fits-all template for broaching apparent mental health issues.
So that’s the impetus behind a tiny but sure-to-grow program named Mental Health First Aid, a training course designed along the lines of familiar CPR and first-aid training.
Theresa Cummings, director of program development for the Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund, is one of a handful of area trainers who can bring a 12-hour training course to workplaces and religious and social service organizations.
“It’s really beneficial for human resource departments to help demystify concerns about mental health,” Cummings said.
Missouri is among two states (Maryland is the other) in the vanguard of introducing the program, which originated in Australia, in the United States. The Missouri Foundation for Health is funding grants to faith-based organizations to have the training delivered to their congregations, Cummings said.
The course teaches people how to recognize depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders and other mental health conditions — and then direct sufferers to appropriate resources.
The program lands on fertile ground in Kansas City, which already has a national reputation for raising public awareness of depression.
“Stress and depression are very hot issues with employers,” said Christine Wilson, chief executive of the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care, which in 2000 began an initiative with a couple dozen large employers to understand and deal with depression.
The coalition has developed a “Depression Tool Kit” for employees and employers, conducted a work site awareness campaign, presented information sessions to business groups and conducted an employee attitudinal study.
In some workplaces, in-house wellness specialists or human resource practitioners are trained to give front-line assistance to employees exhibiting mental health disease.
In workplaces without in-house specialists, referrals to Employee Assistance Programs — generally affiliated with employee health insurance plans — are the likely responses.
“Depression can have a major impact beyond the individual. It affects workplace productivity and co-workers,” Wilson said. “The more you can bring awareness and remove the taboo about talking about mental illness, the better.”
For that to happen, experts agreed, a workplace first has to have an atmosphere of trust among management and employees. Workers have to believe that they can obtain confidential help for mental health conditions and that it won’t lead to a pink slip or other punitive measures.
“Even if your workplace doesn’t have a formal EAP, one easy, free thing is to have the CEO tell employees that ‘we’re concerned about you,’“Miller said. “Let employees know that it’s OK to seek help if you need it, and here are the resources available to you, whether they’re employer provided or not.”
To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to Stafford@kcstar.com.

Gov. Nixon announces expansion of Partnership for Hope to serve 300 more Missourians with developmental disabilities

OZARK, Mo. – Nov. 16, 2011  -  Gov. Jay Nixon today visited the Christian County Developmental Disability Board to announce that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has given approval to expand Missouri's successful Partnership for Hope to include 11 more counties and an additional 300 individuals with developmental disabilities.

With the expansion, the Partnership for Hope will provide home and community-based services to 1,300 individuals in 84 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis. Because families can receive these services sooner, the need for residential or institutional programs is delayed or avoided in many cases. The counties approved to be added include Barry, Christian, Grundy, Morgan, Oregon, Perry, Randolph, Reynolds, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard and Wayne. They join the 73 counties and the City of St. Louis currently participating in the program.

The Partnership for Hope began enrolling an initial group of 470 individuals in October 2010. Last February, the federal government approved a request by Gov. Nixon's administration to expand the partnership to 500 additional individuals. In June, Gov. Nixon authorized the Department of Mental Health to seek approval for a further expansion of Partnership for Hope by an additional 300 individuals; that additional request has now been approved by CMS.

Prior to implementation of the Partnership for Hope, demand for home- and community-based services resulted in a large backlog of Missouri families waiting for help. Because of the backlog, many families waited years to receive the services they needed. Priority had been given to individuals in crisis, such as individuals who were homeless or whose primary caregiver had passed away. In many of those cases, residential or institutional treatment became the only option. 

"I've met with families from around the state whose lives have been changed for the better by the Partnership for Hope," Gov. Nixon said. "Hundreds of Missourians with developmental disabilities are living up to their fullest potential, and families are able to stay together. It has been an unqualified success."
Through the Partnership for Hope, individuals receive up to $12,000 in services per year.  Funding for the program comes from the DMH, county developmental disability boards and CMS. The county boards are contributing $2.9 million annually for the program, which is matched by $2.9 million in existing state funds and up to $9.4 million from the federal government. 

The partnership began enrolling Missourians in October 2010. Already, approximately 1,090 individuals have enrolled and are receiving services, and more individuals are moving through the enrollment process.

"In just the first year of Partnership for Hope, the developmental disability boards in almost three-fourths of our counties are working closely with the Department of Mental Health to provide services to people in their homes and in the communities where they live," Gov. Nixon said. "I look forward to continuing to work together with our county and federal partners to bring support, encouragement and hope to families in every corner of our state."

Counties already participating in Partnership for Hope include:

Missourians with developmental disabilities can learn more about the Partnership for Hope at MO.gov.

 

Eric Norem, Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center

   Eric Norem developed a highly successful and efficient staffing assignment program for the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center, combining his computer knowledge and initiative.
   “The nursing staffing assignment sheets are simple in purpose, yet complex in filling out when there are a multitude of variables to account for,” said Bob Bax, spokesman for the state Department of Mental Health.
   Norem used variables including the number of staff assigned, number of one-onone situations, ward tasks and program assignments to create a spreadsheet format.
   He was able to program additional worksheets that input all pertinent patient data and leaving space for staff observation for eventual use in generating the shift and subsequent 24-hour report.
   He spent time training nurses, and the program is used on all hospital wards.
   “The new assignment sheet saves time, money, helps to ensure fairness in assignments among staff and is readily adaptable,” Bax said. “Even some nurses who were reluctant to use the computer found the tool of great benefit and have started using the computer more often.”
   The tool saves each nurse up to 12 minutes per shift assignment sheet. And conservative estimates put the annual savings from this tool at more than $23,000.
   Norem worked on this project during his breaks, as well as off shift hours, demonstrating his continued commitment to the project’s success, Bax said.
   “Eric took it upon himself to create a tool that would minimize if not eliminate frustration among his coworkers related to assignment sheets,” Bax said. “He recognized that the simple act of creating a fair and balanced assignment sheet sets the tone for the day ahead.”
   The State Employee of the Month is selected by the State Employee of the Month Selection Committee from among nominations submitted by the 16 state departments and some elected offices. The six committee members also are members of the State Training Advisory Council.

Eric Norem

DMH ANNOUNCES PSYCHIATRIC INPATIENT REDESIGN TEAM
RECEIVES 2011 GOVERNOR’S AWARD

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is pleased to announce that the 2011 Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity for Innovation was awarded to the DMH Psychiatric Inpatient Redesign Team.  The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 in the Capitol Rotunda. 

The DMH Inpatient Redesign Team made dramatic improvements to the DMH hospital system, reduced costs and improved the lives of DMH patients affected by these changes.  Team members recognized are:  Rebecca Carson, Rick Gowdy, Dick Gregory, Jan Heckemeyer, Julie Inman, Laurent Javois, Marty Martin-Forman, Brent McGinty, Patrick Murphy, Denise Norbury, Joseph Parks, Steve Reeves, Robert Reitz, Felix Vincenz and Rikki Wright.

“In my time in state government since 1970, I have seen many such awards presented for some highly laudatory innovations, but none were as exemplary or well deserved as the work of this team on Inpatient Redesign,” said Dr. Keith Schafer, Department Director.

The team tackled four major challenges. First was closing state operated acute inpatient services because federal regulations prohibit Medicaid reimbursement for these state services, while simultaneously encouraging community hospitals to expand their psychiatric capacity. The other challenges were downsizing Fulton State Hospital, enhancing community mental health services, and avoiding new facility construction that would strain the state’s budget during tough economic times. 

“This effort was fraught with every conceivable risk imaginable: economic, political, public safety, organizational resistance to change, just to name a few,” Dr. Schafer continued.   “The skill with which this has been achieved and the effort it took to do so will only be understood by a few people, but those of us who do understand it are in awe of what this team has done.”

The Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity is a team award recognizing service excellence, efficiency, innovation, technology, process improvement, and employee development in Missouri State Government.  A selection committee of state executives evaluates each nomination and recommends teams to receive the awards. 

DMH Staff

Bonnie Nealhttp://epaper.wehco.com/daily/Images/Common/HitArrow.gif: September State Employee of the Month

Following the tornado in Joplin, Bonniehttp://epaper.wehco.com/daily/Images/Common/HitArrow.gif Nealhttp://epaper.wehco.com/daily/Images/Common/HitArrow.gif left her home and family for six weeks to volunteer as a disaster mental health technician and coordinate on-site trauma response.
Bob Bax, director of public and legislative affairs for the Department of Mental Health, nominated her in recognition of her dedication and outstanding work.
 “Because of her expertise, many families, children, youth and adults were quickly triaged and received the needed mental health services, crisis response, medication management and scheduled appointments,” Bax said.
 As a licensed clinical social worker, Nealhttp://epaper.wehco.com/daily/Images/Common/HitArrow.gif volunteered with the American Red Cross. She has been with the Department of Mental Health for 24 years.
 “She stepped into an extremely hazardous and demanding full-time position, working long days and late evenings to coordinate the mental health services,” Bax said.
 She also worked closely with the Ozarks Center, Joplin’s mental health center, which sustained substantial damage.
 This was not Nealhttp://epaper.wehco.com/daily/Images/Common/HitArrow.gif’s first time to respond to such disasters and people in traumatic need. She completed training as a disaster mental health technician in 1994. She also is a psychological first aid trained trainer.
The State Employee of the Month is selected by the State Employee of the Month Selection Committee from among nominations submitted by the 16 state departments and some elected offices. The six committee members also are members of the State Training Advisory Council.

Bonnie Neal September employee of the month

Gov. Nixon visits Ozark Center for Autism, applauds leadership on state’s autism insurance law

Because of autism insurance law, Ozark Center has hired seven additional staff members since January; 26 clients receiving services through policies covered by requirement

JOPLIN, Mo., SEPTEMBER 7  – Gov. Jay Nixon today visited the Ozark Center for Autism in Joplin to applaud the center’s clinical staff for working tirelessly to provide services to its clients while recovering and rebuilding after the devastating May 22 tornado.  Gov. Nixon also thanked the center for playing a key leadership role in implementing Missouri’s new autism insurance statute, which was signed into law last year.

“The Ozark Center for Autism, which is a critical part of the Freeman Health System, is truly a center of excellence for behavioral health services in southwest Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Because of the strength of its leadership and professional staff, the center has overcome extreme challenges to continue its mission of delivering outstanding care to its clients, despite significant damage from the devastating tornado.  At the same time, the Ozark Center for Autism has led the way in implementing Missouri’s new insurance requirement for autism treatment and services, growing its staff and expanding services at a critical time for our state.  The center is making a real difference in the lives of children in southwest Missouri.”

Because of the new Missouri autism law, the Ozark Center for Autism is growing.  The center has hired seven additional staff members since January.  Twenty-six individuals with autism are receiving services under insurance policies included under the Missouri requirement.  In total, those 26 individuals have had more than 800 services covered by their insurance.

The Missouri autism insurance law, which was passed as House Bill 1311 in 2010, requires that insurance companies provide coverage of up to $40,000 a year, until age 18, for Applied Behavioral Analysis, which clinical evidence has shown to be the most effective means of treating autism spectrum disorders.  The requirement took effect Jan. 1, 2011.  Professionals from the Ozark Center for Autism were key members of a statewide coalition that worked with Gov. Nixon to pass the law. 

The Ozark Center for Autism is part of Freeman Health System’s Ozark Center, the most comprehensive provider of behavioral health services in the Joplin area.  The autism center was one of eight Ozark Center facilities damaged or destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

Although its physical home was destroyed by the tornado, the Ozark Center for Autism continues to provide services and treatment for patients with autism spectrum disorders today.  While renovations are underway at another facility, the autism center is renting 2,000 square feet of space from The Bridge, a community center in Joplin, where center staff members are providing services.  Staff members also are increasing the number of services they provide to clients and their families in the home.

“The Ozark Center for Autism has been tried and tested this year, but we are committed, we are strong, and we are growing,” said Paula Baker, chief clinical officer for Freeman Health System and supervisor of programming for the autism center.  “Our mission is to provide outstanding services for the children in our care, and that mission hasn’t changed one bit because of the tornado.  Our outstanding professionals will continue to work each and every day to change the lives of children in our area, and the new autism law is helping us do just that.  We are a part of this community today, tomorrow and for years to come.”

$1.44 million federal grant will focus on preventing youth suicides

SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 - The Missouri Institute of Mental Health and Missouri Department of Mental Health have received a $1.44 million federal grant for youth suicide prevention programs. MIMH is a research, mental health and social services unit of the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The federal grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is the third youth suicide prevention initiative awarded to the state for the Missouri Youth Suicide Prevention Project since 2005. Since that time, more than 50,000 youth and adults have received suicide prevention programming in Missouri. The existing program continues with an additional $480,000 award per year.

The new grant will allow suicide prevention efforts to continue by promoting and providing evidence-based suicide prevention programs while helping to connect at-risk youth to much needed mental health services.
“With this grant we will address not just prevention but early intervention,” said Elizabeth Sale, the lead evaluator of the project and a research associate professor at MIMH. “We will focus on training teachers in the schools to become suicide prevention program facilitators so that more school staff and youth learn to detect warning signs of suicide. Missouri will also establish five self-sustaining centers around the state to coordinate counseling services for low-income youth.” Scott Perkins will serve as project director for the grant.

MIMH provides research, evaluation, policy and training expertise to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, other state agencies, service provider agencies, school districts, and other organizations and individuals seeking information related to mental health and other related policy areas. Located in St. Louis, MIMH consists of 100 researchers and staff generating $7.5 million in research grants.

UMSL is a public metropolitan research university located in Missouri’s most populous and economically important region. UMSL provides exceptional learning experiences and leadership opportunities to a diverse student body through the university’s outstanding faculty, ranked programs, innovative research and community partnerships. The university includes over 16,500 students served by 2,500 faculty and staff.
More information:
www.mimh.edu

Matt Ferguson: August State Employee of the Month

Matt Ferguson was knocked unconscious by flying debris the evening of May 22, when the EF5 tornado struck the Joplin restaurant where he was with his family.
Despite sustaining injuries requiring treatment, as the Joplin Regional Office Director for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Ferguson put his consumers first and called his staff into action.
They searched for the whereabouts of consumers and found temporary housing for those who were displaced.
Ferguson did not seek treatment, including stitches and for a burn, until the next evening May 23.
Under Ferguson’s efforts, the regional office for the Department of Mental Health also opened to contracted providers who lost buildings and vehicles, said Bob Bax, director of public and legislative affairs, who nominated Ferguson for the State Employee of the Month.
Meeting rooms were turned into makeshift offices, and state cars were used to transport consumers to safe locations.
Many Joplin regional office staff also were impacted by the tornado. Many lost homes and cars, and some were injured.
Ferguson made resources available to the staff to assist them in the recovery process.
Matt responded immediately, putting the consumers and staff above all else,” Bax said. “He worked tirelessly to direct the emergency response to consumers served by the Joplin regional office.”
The State Employee of the Month is selected by the State Employee of the Month Selection Committee from among nominations submitted by the 16 state departments and some elected offices. The six committee members also are members of the State Training Advisory Council.

Matt Ferguson Joplin Regional Office Director

Matt Ferguson Joplin Regional Office Director for the Division of Developmental Disabilities

Gov. Nixon signs disability rights legislation

Governor signs HB 555 and HB 648 which replace “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in state statutes; promote disability awareness and history; and require parking accessible to lift vans.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (JULY 12, 2011) – Gov. Jay Nixon today signed legislation making several changes for disability rights. Among their provisions, House Bills 555 and 648 remove the term “mental retardation” from state statutes and designate October as Disability History and Awareness Month.

“More than 100,000 Missourians have an intellectual or developmental disability, and many more have a family member with a disability,” Gov. Nixon said. “This legislation helps to ensure that, as a state, our words, actions and laws do not promote discrimination. Words that are hurtful or hateful have no place on our books or in our hearts. This legislation is about dignity, practicality and the need to ensure access and equality for Missourians with disabilities.”

House Bills 555 and 648 replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” from numerous state statutes. They also change the name of the state’s Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Gov. Nixon signed the legislation at Paraquad Independent Living Center, one of the largest non-residential independent living centers in the nation. Paraquad serves more than 4,000 people in the St. Louis area.

“Public attitudes are still a major problem facing people with disabilities,” said Robert Funk, CEO of Paraquad. “These new laws are an important step in making a positive change in attitudes by, among other things, increasing the rights of parents with disabilities and increasing awareness of civil rights for people with disabilities.”

In addition to designating October as Disability History and Awareness Month, this legislation allows school districts to direct their schools to provide disability instruction during this time.

“Teaching children in K-12 about disability not only begins to teach them acceptance of people with disabilities, but also helps them see beyond the disability to their capacities and opportunities to contribute,” said Colleen Starkloff, director of education and training at the Starkloff Disability Institute in St. Louis.  “It’s like race and ethnicity. When you can expose young children to promote acceptance of people who are not exactly the same as they are, they’re moving toward acceptance of all people within our culture.”

The legislation also adds a mental health professional to the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee; makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities when it comes to parental rights; and requires that one in every four accessible parking spaces created or repainted after Aug. 28, 2011 to be ‘lift van accessible’.

Gov. Nixon announces $2 million to establish the Joplin Child Trauma Treatment Center

Mental health professionals to provide services for children and families affected by May 22 tornado; Freeman Health System, St. John’s Mercy, other partners sign landmark memorandum of understanding to establish center

JOPLIN, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that his administration is allocating $2 million to establish the Joplin Child Trauma Treatment Center to provide critical mental health services to children and families impacted by the May 22 tornado.

Six partner organizations and agencies, including the Ozark Center, a subsidiary of Freeman Health System; St. John’s Mercy Medical Center; the Missouri Department of Mental Health; Joplin Public Schools; the Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri; and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health have signed an official memorandum of understanding to launch this center and provide critical services to children and families in need.

“The devastation of this tornado is difficult to comprehend for adults, let alone for the children who lost their homes, their schools, and for some – their loved ones,” Gov. Nixon said. “Many children in this community will need additional help to return to a sense of normalcy and safety. That’s why we’re here today, to ensure that every child has access to the mental health services he or she needs.”

The Joplin Child Trauma Treatment Center will focus on training personnel at schools, churches and other organizations to identify children who are experiencing trauma as a result of the tornado, and on providing specialized mental health treatment and services for children and families in need of assistance.

Treatments and services provided by the center will include:

 

These services will be available to all children affected by this catastrophic tornado, regardless of age, family income or access to health insurance.

With support from the Missouri Department of Mental Health, the Ozark Center is identifying a location to house the trauma center and recruiting professional staff for the center. 

“Through this center, Joplin area families will have access to very specialized services to help their children recover from the emotional impact of this disaster. Referrals can be made through schools, doctors and other organizations that serve children,” said Keith Schafer, director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health Director. “We greatly appreciate the work of our partner organizations in forming this center and providing these critical services.”

Until the trauma center opens, parents or other adults who know of a child in need of mental health services should contact the Ozark Center at (417) 347-7600.

Group holds concert for tornado victims

FARMINGTON - Stories of the devastation of the Joplin tornado touched the hearts of Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center patients who are part of a worship group.

Members of the worship group, called Coffee With God, decided they wanted to do something to raise money for victims of the tornado. Tina Dillon, a staff member who started the worship group, asked her superiors if a benefit concert would be possible.

She and her group were thrilled when Dr. Melissa Ring, chief operating officer of the mental health center, gave her blessing to have a benefit worship concert in the hospital’s gym. The group of individuals (who have various mental illnesses) immediately began compiling and practicing songs.

Accompanied by the Crossroads Heritage Worship Center band, 14 members of the Ward 101 Coffee With God worship group sang their hearts out Friday afternoon to raise money for the Joplin tornado victims. The gym was filled with staff members, patients and visiting family members.

The concert began with a prayer for the people of Joplin. The minister said he knows people are asking why the Lord would cause such devastation. He said it is not God and God wants people to turn to him in all the pain and suffering.

Robert, a patient, talked about the tornado and told the audience that money, items and prayer are appreciated. He also told the audience that the group put their hearts and souls into the concert.
Those who attended the concert were told any donation would be appreciated. All the proceeds from the concert will go to the American Red Cross.

Sometimes, the group sang as a whole; other times two, three and four patients took the microphone to sing a song. Taryn sang a solo. The songs drew standing ovations from the crowd.

The patients and many staff members wore T-shirts that read, “God is Shelter from the Storm.” Lynzee designed the shirts and Dwight McMinn of MoWear Ink donated the shirts.

Ring said she felt honored to have such wonderful and giving clients - people who reach out to others and let them know they are loved by them and God.
Dillon said she is proud of the group and honored to lead the group.

“They’re awesome,” she said.

Local Gallery Hosts Art Opening to Raise Awareness of Mental Health Issues

[JEFFERSON CITY, MO] – The Missouri Mental Health Foundation is proud to present the opening of the 2011 Director’s Creativity Traveling Showcase on May 19, 2011, at the Northern Arts Council Gallery, 27 South Florissant in Ferguson, Missouri. A reception for the public and local artists will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Gallery.

“Making the art available for public viewing is just one of the ways we can help reduce stigma associated with having a mental illness, developmental disability or substance abuse issue,” says Debra Walker, Executive Director of the Missouri Mental Health Foundation. “The artwork is inspiring and shows the amazing talents of many individuals faced with mental health issues.”

The artwork is created not only for the showcase, but also as a means of therapy and recreation by people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse. The Northern Arts Council Gallery hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday or by appointment. The show will end the week of May 30, 2011.

Honoring Children During National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

The first week in May marks our nation's 20th celebration of Children's Mental Health
Week. This is a time when parent groups, mental health organizations, advocacy groups
and others come together to call attention to the mental health needs of children. Here in
Missouri child advocates will don green ribbons and participate in picnics, poster
contests, awards ceremonies, proclamations, workshops and more.

But, under all the celebration lies a very serious issue. A large National Institutes of
Mental Health study revealed that one-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by
age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.

That same study revealed that it is, on average, eight-to-l0 years, from the onset of
symptoms before a child gets help. Those are critical developmental years in the life of a
young person-a time when they should be developing social skills, building their
educational foundation and acquiring the skills needed to succeed in life.

This may help explain why so many young lives get off track. Children living with
mental illness have the highest school drop-out rate of any disability group. They become
entangled with the juvenile justice system in alarming numbers and thousands die by
suicide every year.

These children easily become isolated and struggle at a time when they should be hitting
developmental milestones. The good news is that with early identification there are
effective interventions for children living with mental illness that can help get their lives
back on track.

As we honor kids during Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, some soul
searching is in order. It is time to treat mental health conditions and emerging mental
illness as we do other health conditions-with early identification and intervention to
avoid more serious and costly long-term consequences.


We at NAMI challenge everyone who cares about a child to save lives and avoid the loss
of critical developmental years by making a commitment to early identification and
treatment. "There can be no keener revelation of a society'S soul than the way in which it
treats its children." Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa.

Mental Health Foundation presents awards to champions (4/7)

Three remarkable Missourians who overcame mental health challenges to make life better for others and their communities were honored Wednesday as Missouri’s 2011 Mental Health Champions.

The Missouri Mental Health Foundation presented the awards to Mickie McDowell of Springfield; Toni Jordan of St. Louis; and Jim Rennison of Sedalia. The awards were part of the Fourth Annual Mental Health Champions Banquet held in Jefferson City. The Foundation also presented its “Lasting Legacy” award to Dr. Danny Wedding, the former director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, for his lifetime contribution to mental health in Missouri.

“These are individuals who truly have made a difference in the lives of Missourians affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse,” said Debra Walker, Executive Director of the Missouri Mental Health Foundation. “Their personal stories as well as their accomplishment are inspiring.”

After years of turmoil, Mickie McDowell was finally diagnosed with mental illness in 1995. She made the decision at that time to get control of her life. Through appropriate treatment, intense determination, desire and hard work, she overcame her mental illness and now proudly shares her recovery with those still struggling. Her goal, she says, is to “be a living billboard promoting that recovery can happen.” Mickie is a Certified Missouri Peer Specialist, a Certified Recovery Educator and a Licensed Procovery Forum Facilitator. Her credentials are well earned as she has transformed her own experiences into a message of hope and of action for others.

Toni Jordan’s passion for helping others overcome the chains of addiction and travel the road to recovery is rooted in her own struggle to change her life. The result for Toni is a career demonstrating compassion, understanding and encouragement for clients of the Queen of Peace Center in St. Louis. Today, Toni is employed full time in a research study conducted collaboratively by Queen of Peace Center and St. Louis University. She is also enrolled in the Human Services Program at Forest Park Community College, pursuing an Associate Degree. She plans to expand her services to women in recovery. For the women at Queen of Peace Center and anyone in recovery, Toni Jordan provides them an example of determination to succeed. She also provides them hope.

Jim Rennison helped bring about a strong advocacy organization in the greater Sedalia area through his tenacity and ability to see an opportunity where others saw obstacles. For the past 10 years, Jim has been President of the Association for Persons with Disabilities, an organization he helped to form from three other local advocacy organizations that were struggling to survive. Jim has helped to shape a very diverse board of directors for the Association as he seeks members who are familiar with the people served, as well as the service delivery system. Under Jim’s leadership, the Association continues to help fund therapies, adaptive equipment, summer camp and recreational activities that enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities.

Dr. Danny Wedding’s impact on mental health in Missouri can be measured by the millions of dollars in research and grant funding for mental health that has come to the state in the past two decades. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Wedding directed the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) for 19 years.  He resuscitated what had become a moribund institution by the time he moved to St. Louis in 1991, and during his tenure as the Institute’s Director, Dr. Wedding increased annual research funding at the Institute from $135,000 to over $6,500,000. 

The MMHF is dedicated to helping Missourians understand the importance of mental health and building hope for persons who experience the impact of addiction disorders, developmental disabilities and mental illness.

 

Nearly 1,000 Missourians will receive home- and community-based services under innovative partnership between county, state and federal agencies.

Partnership for Hope expanding to serve 500 additional Missourians

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – February 22, 2011, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have given approval to expand Missouri's successful Partnership for Hope to 500 additional individuals with developmental disabilities. In total, the Partnership for Hope will serve nearly 1,000 individuals in 73 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis, now including Dallas, Cedar, Dade, Lawrence, Vernon, Barton, Newton, McDonald, Stone, Ozark and Howell counties. Greene, Jasper and Taney were original members of the Partnership.

The Partnership for Hope began enrolling an initial 470 individuals in October 2010. In December 2010, Gov. Nixon authorized the Department of Mental Health to begin the process of seeking federal approval to expand the partnership to 500 additional individuals. Last week, CMS notified Gov. Nixon's administration that the expansion has been approved.

"The Partnership for Hope is changing hundreds of lives across Missouri, and helping individuals with developmental disabilities live up to their fullest potential," Gov. Nixon said. "This expansion will provide services to 500 additional individuals at home with their families and in their local communities. By doing so, we'll help open doors to new opportunities and keep families together."

Prior to implementation of the Partnership for Hope, demand for home- and community-based services had resulted in a large backlog of Missouri families waiting for help. Because of the backlog, many families had been waiting years to receive the services they needed. Priority had been given to individuals in crisis, such as individuals who were homeless or whose primary caregiver had passed away. In many of those cases, residential or institutional treatment became the only option.

Through the Partnership for Hope, 970 individuals will receive up to $12,000 in services per year. Funding for the program comes from the Missouri Department of Mental Health, county developmental disability boards and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The county boards are contributing $2.1 million annually for the program, which will be matched by $2.1 million in state funds to draw down $7.4 million from the federal government.

The partnership began enrolling Missourians on Oct. 1. Already, 378 individuals have been enrolled and are receiving services, and more individuals are moving through the enrollment process right now.

"I commend the leaders with our county developmental disability boards for their innovation and dedication that made the Partnership for Hope possible," Gov. Nixon said. "I look forward to continuing to work together to bring support, encouragement and hope to families in every corner of our state."

Initial Partnership for Hope Counties

New Partnership for Hope Counties

Adair

Barton

Audrain

Benton

Boone

Caldwell

Buchanan

Cedar

Callaway

Clark

Camden

Crawford

Clay

Dade

Clinton

Dallas

Cole

DeKalb

Cooper

Dent

Franklin

Gentry

Gasconade

Harrison

Greene

Henry

Jackson

Hickory

Jasper

Holt

Johnson

Howard

Lincoln

Howell

Livingston

Jefferson

Macon

Knox

Maries

Lafayette

Marion

Lawrence

Miller

Lewis

Moniteau

Linn

Monroe

McDonald

Montgomery

Mercer

Osage

Newton

Pettis

Ozark

Pike

Phelps

Platte

Putnam

Ralls

St. Clair

Ray

St. Francois

Saline

Schulyer

Shelby

Scotland

St. Charles

Stone

St. Louis City

Sullivan

Taney

Vernon

Washington

Worth

Department recognizes efforts of facility staff

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., February 10, 2011 -- The recent blizzard proved a challenge and hardship to many Missourians including those who work in Department of Mental Health (DMH) facilities serving over 2,000 of Missouri’s most vulnerable individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses.  The Department operates 9 psychiatric facilities for adults and children with mental illness and severe emotional disorders, and 6 habilitation centers for persons with developmental disabilities.

The record snow storm prompted voluntary, heroic actions by hundreds of DMH staff statewide. These actions kept state psychiatric hospitals and habilitation centers operating and safe for residents around the clock throughout the difficult storm period.  The Mental Health Commission and the Department of Mental Health expressed their deepest appreciation for these heroic efforts.

“There are countless examples of staff going above and beyond the call to ensure the care and safety of patients and residents, and to help fellow workers who were challenged by the effects and aftermath of the blizzard,” said Keith Schafer, Director of the Department of Mental Health.

“Every day, 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, we count on the commitment and skills of our facility staff to provide treatment and care to Missouri’s most disabled citizens.   Frankly, far too often, we, and Missourians in general, take them for granted.  This landmark weather event only served to remind us again what we have always known and seldom acknowledged. Our facility staff routinely exceed our best expectations.”

Facility directors noted that many employees came to work on January 31, prepared to work extra shifts, anticipating that some co-workers would be unable to get to work on time for the next shift, or in some case not at all. Others, not scheduled to work that day, came in anyway because they thought they might be needed.

At one facility, a staff member arrived for the start of her shift at 6:45am, with an inflatable mattress, blankets, a change of clothes and extra food; working her regular shift and the next shift before sleeping a few hours in the center’s gymnasium, and got up early and started helping out again before her next “regular” shift.  This continued for two straight days. There are many examples of staff staying at facilities from Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon, or longer, to ensure coverage.

Staff at Higginsville Habilitation Center pitched in by setting up an area on site for approximately 30 employees to stay during the storm. This included food, sleeping accommodations and showers. The area was affectionately labeled “Hotel Providence”. 

At many facilities, staff members volunteered to help others get to work.  In one instance, two staff drove a personal four-wheel drive vehicle to pick up a fellow worker who was stuck 15 miles away.  A maintenance worker took his personal vehicle into town to pick up a doctor and bring him to the facility to treat a resident for a medical condition. One worker made six different trips during the storm to pick up staff who did not have vehicles that could make it through the storm. 

Psychiatrists at one facility, knowing the weather forecast, spent from Monday morning until Thursday afternoon either in the hospital or staying in a nearby hotel in order to provide services to patients. Dietary employees came in on their day off until additional dietary workers arrived in order to assure that patients got breakfast.  Maintenance staff stayed overnight to ensure maintenance needs were met and to be available in case of power loss. They also cleared sidewalks and parking lots.

Program managers did their best to see that all staff members were rotated on and off duty, provided breaks and offered sleeping arrangements at the facility. Facility directors noted that the energy and high spirits of staff boosted everyone’s morale despite the difficult weather conditions. Denise Norbury, Regional Executive Officer for the Southwest Region of the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services noted that patients at Southwest Missouri Mental Health Center benefitted from the heroic examples of staff.

“Our biggest heroes are those who are here 24-7, not by choice, but because they are receiving services.  Our clients turned the storm into an adventure in fun.  There were jokes to staff members who spent the night…about whether or not they had bathed yet because, after all, it needed to be recorded and tracked.  Individuals who have not laughed since admission were able to experience some complete full blown laughter.  I am so grateful to those heroes for just tolerating us and all of our routines that are imposed upon them every day,” said Norbury.

The exceptional efforts of DMH employees continued after the storm. Staff members who were not able to make it in during the storm offered to work later in the week to allow their coworkers who graciously covered for them, to have time off.

Challenges like the recent storm have a way of bringing out the best in people. Members of the Mental Health Commission and the DMH Executive Team want to express our deepest appreciation and admiration for the actions of DMH facility staff during this crisis, and for the dedication they demonstrate each and every day,” Schafer said. “We are blessed to have their tireless efforts to serve our very vulnerable clients.”

 

Gov. Nixon, local families discuss benefits of Partnership for Hope for individuals with developmental disabilities

Partnership for Hope to provide services for 470 individuals with developmental disabilities across Missouri, including 90 in Jackson County; Gov. Nixon, partner agencies seeking federal resources to expand to 500 more

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (1-28-2011) – Gov. Jay Nixon sat down with two Jackson County families this morning to discuss the Partnership for Hope, a new state program that is having a positive impact on the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Gov. Nixon joined Mary and Keith Kinart, and their son Austin; and Diana and Kenneth Spare, and their daughter Lucy, to discuss the home- and community-based services the Partnership for Hope has made available to 470 Missourians with developmental disabilities.  Through the Partnership for Hope, families will receive these services sooner than previously possible, delaying or avoiding the need for residential or institutional programs in many cases.  The partnership, which took effect Oct. 1, was made possible by a partnership between the state of Missouri; 37 participating county developmental disability boards; and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The Partnership for Hope will offer help and support to hundreds of Missouri families caring for loved ones with developmental disabilities,” Gov. Nixon said.  “For too long, families were forced to wait for a crisis before help was available.  This partnership shows that families and communities can work together successfully to care for individuals with developmental disabilities at home and in the community.”

Prior to the Partnership for Hope, demand for home- and community-based services had resulted in a large backlog of Missouri families waiting for help.  Because of the backlog, many families waited years before receiving the services they need.  Priority had been given to individuals in crisis, such as individuals who were homeless or whose primary caregiver had passed away; in many of those cases, residential or institutional treatment became the only option. 

Through the Partnership for Hope, 470 individuals will receive up to $12,000 in services per year.  Many families already have enrolled in the program and are receiving services; other families will begin receiving services in the coming weeks.  The county boards are contributing $1.5 million annually for the program, which is matched by $1.5 million in state funds to draw down $5.2 million from the federal government.  Funding will be available on a continuing basis for future years.

The number of individuals served in each county will depend on the financial commitment given by the county’s board.  County boards will determine which individuals within their county will receive services.  In Jackson County, 90 families will receive services through the Partnership for Hope.  Already, 78 Jackson County families are enrolled.

Because of the Partnership for Hope, Lucy Spare will be eligible for supported-employment services. Lucy has a diagnosis of mild retardation and Down’s syndrome, but she is a vibrant, fast learner and is very capable of mastering new skills.  Her parents want her to spend as much time as possible out of the house, either working or volunteering.  Lucy’s family is in the process of reviewing and hiring an assistant who will help her learn new job skills and explore new work opportunities.

Austin Kinart, who is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, will receive personal assistance and off-site day habilitation services through the Partnership for Hope.  Austin is enrolled and doing well in the THRIVE Program at the University of Central Missouri, but his parents, both of whom work, worry about what he will do during winter and summer breaks.  Austin needs support in public and social settings, such as restaurants.  A personal assistant will help increase Austin’s social skills, help expand his social network, and help him be more successful in school.   

On Dec. 13, the Missouri Department of Mental Health filed a request with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand the Partnership for Hope to an additional 500 individuals.  State and county resources are available to fund this expansion if it is approved by CMS.  A federal decision on the expansion could come as early as March.

Keith Schaefer, director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and Jake Jacobs, executive director of Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County, also participated in the roundtable.

A Day with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

 Join us on February 14, 2011 for a day of  events with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter presented in honor by the Behavioral Health Network, Comtrea, Mental Health America of the Eastern Region and NAMI-St. Louis.

Despite great progress toward understanding the causes and treatments for mental illnesses, our nation’s health care system continues to fail people living with these conditions. No one is more passionate or persuasive on the matter than former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who has been a driving force in the field of mental health throughout her public service career. 

Mrs. Carter has been deeply invested in this issue since her husband’s gubernatorial campaign, when she saw firsthand the horrific dehumanizing treatment those with mental illnesses endured. Carter writes, “Americans think of ourselves as decent, generous and compassionate people and for the most part we are. But we treat a large portion of our own population as if they are second class citizens. Ultimately, the way we treat people with mental illnesses in our society is a moral issue—to neglect those, who through no fault of their own, are in need runs counter to our core principles—the values of  decency and equality that we hold dear.”

Mrs. Carter will be speaking about her vision for ending the mental health crisis at several scheduled events on Monday, February 14, 2011in the St. Louis area.   

book

Attendees in all events will receive an autographed copy of Mrs. Carter’s book, Within Our Reach:  Ending the Mental Health Crisis.

Please visit the events website for further information and registration at carterbrunch.comtrea.org and carterpaneldiscussion.comtrea.org.

”WITHIN OUR REACH: Ending the Mental Health Crisis”
A presentation by
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
hosted by
 comtrea
Serving Jefferson County and South St. Louis County
with Family Counseling, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
since 1974.

Brunch:

Despite great progress toward understanding the causes and treatments for mental illnesses, our nation’s health care system continues to fail people living with these conditions. And no one is more passionate or persuasive on the matter than Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who has been a driving force in the field of mental health throughout her public service career.
Carter has been deeply invested in this issue since her husband’s gubernatorial campaign, when she saw firsthand the horrific dehumanizing treatment those with mental illnesses endured. Carter writes, “Americans think of ourselves as decent, generous and compassionate people and for the most part we are. But we treat a large portion of our own population as if they are second class citizens. Ultimately, the way we treat people with mental illnesses in our society is a moral issue—to neglect those, who through no fault of their own, are in need runs counter to our core principles—the values of decency and equality that we hold dear.”
Carter will highlight populations keenly shortchanged: children, the elderly, the poor, those affected by trauma (everyone from Katrina victims to veterans), and those trapped in the criminal justice system, among others. Through deeply personal reflections, based on her years of advocacy, Carter will illustrate why these groups are suffering and reveals the solutions we can implement now to remedy the situation.
WITHIN OUR REACH is a seminal, deeply personal and ultimately optimistic look at America’s mental health odyssey—how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.
Our purpose in inviting Mrs. Carter to our community is to inspire the residents of our area to further commit to the common cause of serving “the most vulnerable among us” and provide the support that will fully empower them to live a life of grace and dignity.
Dr.Stephen F Huss signature
Dr. Stephen F. Huss,
Comtrea President/CEO
www.comtrea.org  

 

Artwork on display in Kansas City area (1-10-11)

The Director’s Creativity Traveling Showcase, sponsored by the Missouri Mental Health Foundation, will be on display beginning Wednesday, January 12, 2011, in the Clendening Foyer of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS. The artwork is part of the KUMC Diversity Initiative which will feature Dr. Marthel Parsons Gonzales-Ruiz speaking to psychiatrists in the Greater Kansas City about mental health concerns in the Latino community. Dr. Parsons with speak on January 12, from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Clendening Amphitheater, a reception will follow in the Foyer.

The artwork in this showcase is created by people who receive services from the Missouri Department of Mental Health. It is often created as a part of therapy or for recreation by people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse issues. The art represents a wide range of ages and abilities. Selections for the traveling exhibit were based on giving the public an idea of the abilities and talents of these artists. The exhibit will be on display until Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

The Missouri Mental Health Foundation was created to help the general public understand mental health conditions and their associated issues. It is dedicated to changing the attitudes of the general population about mental health conditions and helping those who experience them to build hope for a brighter future. The Department of Mental Health serves Missourians by working to prevent mental disorders, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. The department treats, habilitates, and rehabilitates persons with these conditions and with the Foundation educates the public about mental health issues.

For more information about the Director’s Creativity Showcase or the Missouri Mental Health Foundation contact Debra Walker at 573-291-8508 or e-mail mmhf@MissouriMHF.org. For information on the KUMC Diversity Initiative contact Charles Romero at cromero@kumc.edu or call 913-588-8011.