Missouri Flooding also causing Emotional Distress

Help is available with Disaster Distress Hotline

[Jefferson City, December 30, 2015] The recent flooding has caused many individuals to experience emotional distress. In these circumstances, feeling unprepared, overwhelmed and confused is normal; however, if these emotions over time interfere with your ability to do regular, daily activities, please seek assistance.

The Department of Mental Health reminds Missourians that help is available by contacting the Disaster Distress Helpline:

Disaster Distress Helpline
Phone: 800/985-5990 Text: "TalkWithUs" to 66746

The Helpline can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic incident, including the historic rains, flooding and river crests in our state. Individuals are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers. The Helpline staff provides free, confidential counseling, multilingual referrals, and other needed support services.

Flooding can also cause feelings of isolation due to telephone or power outages, road closures, event cancellations or separation from friends or family members. Returning to a home, business, school, or place of worship impacted by a flood may cause additional distress, especially if there is structural damage. Simply anticipating the possibility of what could be lost or destroyed during a flood can cause people to experience overwhelming anxiety or lose sleep. Other signs of emotional distress related to floods include:

  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Fearing that forecasted storms may develop into a tornado, even when chances are low that they will
  • Constant yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Excessive absences from work or school
  • Use or increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Having thoughts and memories related to the flood that you can’t get out of your head

For more information on coping with floods go to: http://dmh.mo.gov/disaster/flood.html

###

Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center Earns ‘Top Performer on Key Quality Measures™’ Recognition from National Organization

[Jefferson City, December 18, 2015] Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center (NMPRC) has been recognized by The Joint Commission as being among America’s top performing hospitals on accreditation measures for quality of care. The Joint Commission is the leading accrediting agency in America for hospitals and other health care organizations.

NMPRC, located in St. Joseph, MO, was recognized by The Joint Commission for exemplary performance in using science-based clinical processes that improve care in inpatient psychiatric settings. Northwest was compared to all hospitals in the U.S.—not just psychiatric hospitals—in being chosen as one of approximately 1,000 health care organizations earning the distinction of Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for 2014.

NMPRC is a Department of Mental Health state-operated, inpatient hospital for adults with psychiatric disorders.

 “I applaud the dedicated men and women who have made this facility a national model for care and service,” Gov. Jay Nixon said. “By strengthening Missouri’s mental health system, we are helping Missourians in crisis get the care they need to stay healthy and safe.” 

“The Department of Mental Health is delighted with Northwest’s Top Performer recognition from The Joint Commission,” said Department Director Mark Stringer. “I am extremely proud of the hospital leaders and staff for their hard work and dedication in serving some of Missouri’s most troubled citizens.”

The link to the 2015 annual report is: http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/TJC_Annual_Report_2015_EMBARGOED_11_9_15.pdf

###

Missouri selected to participate in national Mental Health Act reforms, Gov. Nixon announces

Nearly $1 million will be put towards improving outpatient services, complementing existing efforts to strengthen Missouri’s mental health system

[Jefferson City, November 2, 2015] – Missouri has been selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to participate in a national, year-long planning process to transform the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today.

“Our Strengthening Mental Health initiative has made Missouri a national leader in helping communities enhance public safety and care for individuals with severe mental illness,” Gov. Nixon said. “By being selected as a planning state in this federal initiative, we will continue to be at the forefront of improving the quality and accessibility of mental health services for those in need.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for Missouri to be a national leader,” said Mark Stringer, Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health. “The creation of this demonstration program will increase access to care and expand the array and quality of treatment services for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. It also diverts them away from the criminal justice system.”

The federal Excellence in Mental Health Act – introduced by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and signed by President Obama in 2014 – set in motion a series of opportunities to strengthen mental health and addiction care, integrate these services with physical health care and improve access to high-quality care for children, adults and families in need.

Under the Excellence Act, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has selected Missouri as one of 24 states selected to participate in the national planning process for a demonstration program on mental health and substance use disorder services. After the one-year planning period, eight states will ultimately be chosen to participate in the two-year Excellence Act demonstration program.

Missouri will receive $982,373 to begin the process of creating a broad set of mental health and substance use disorder outpatient services provided by local certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs).

Certified community behavioral health clinics will provide a comprehensive array of services, including crisis care, screening, treatment, prevention and wellness services for individuals with serious mental illnesses and addiction disorders. By establishing partnerships with a variety of health organizations, including primary care, CCBHCs will ensure consumers in Missouri will find a network of partners ready to work together to deliver high-value care in a more seamless system of integrated care.

When fully implemented, the Excellence Act will significantly increase nationwide access to comprehensive community mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, and is backed by congressional funding of more than $1 billion – representing the biggest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in a generation.

In 2013, Gov. Nixon called for a series of fiscally responsible measures to improve the way Missouri cares for individuals whose mental illness is so severe that it makes them a threat to themselves or others. Working with members of the General Assembly, the Governor secured $10 million annually for the Strengthening Mental Health Initiative in the Fiscal Year 2014, Fiscal Year 2015 and Fiscal Year 2016 budgets.

A cornerstone of the initiative was the placement of new mental health liaisons in community mental health centers around the state to work with law enforcement and court personnel to connect people in behavioral health crises to treatment.

###

Gov. Nixon makes appointments to Mental Health Commission, Board of Occupational Therapy

[October 15, 2015, Jefferson City, MO] – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced his appointments to the Mental Health Commission and the Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy. The appointments require Missouri Senate confirmation.

The appointments to the Mental Health Commission are Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, of Lake Saint Louis; and Dr. Karl Wilson, of St. Louis. The commission appoints the director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health and assists the director in establishing, maintaining and reviewing plans, practices, rules and regulations, facilities, programs and services operated, funded or licensed by the Department.

Dr. Dobbins is the President Emeritus of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and served as the University President from 1999 to 2015. He also served in several executive administrative positions with the university from 1991 to 1999. Dr. Dobbins also was a financial officer for Kent State University and served as an officer and civilian executive with the U.S. Air Force Audit Agency. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending June 28, 2019.

Dr. Wilson is a clinical psychologist who retired in 2012 after 33 years as President and CEO of Crider Health Center, a safety net community health and mental health center serving Franklin, Lincoln, St. Charles and Warren counties. Dr. Wilson also taught at Washington University for 38 years. He served on the national Board of Mental Health America and on the founding Board of Missouri Health Connection. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending June 28, 2018.

The appointments to the Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy are Jeanenne M. Dallas, of Maplewood; and Heather A. Koch, of Columbia. The board protects Missourians through the licensing of occupational therapists and assistants, and also investigates complaints against licensees.

Dallas is a certified occupational therapist and an instructor in the Occupational Therapy and Neurology programs at the Washington University School of Medicine. She has been with the School of Medicine since 1996 and has served in occupational therapy positions since 1978. Dallas obtained her master’s degree in health services management from Webster University. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending Dec. 11, 2015.

Koch is a registered occupational therapist with Rusk Rehabilitation Center in Columbia. She serves on the board of the Missouri Occupational Therapy Association and is a past member of the board for the occupational therapy program at St. Charles Community College. She obtained her master’s degree in occupational therapy from San Jose State University. The Governor has appointed Koch for a term ending Dec. 11, 2016.

###

Gail Vasterling to join Missouri Department of Mental Health’s senior leadership team as General Counsel

Vasterling to add her experience and expertise to department’s senior leadership team

[October 9, 2015, JEFFERSON CITY, MO] – The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is pleased to announce that Gail Vasterling will join the department’s senior leadership team as General Counsel, effective October 19, 2015.

“In addition to expanding access to mental health care and improving services for Missourians with developmental disabilities, we’ve also worked diligently to recruit talented professionals into the department’s senior leadership team,” said DMH Director Mark Stringer. “I’ve worked closely with Gail on a number of issues affecting public health, and I am very pleased that a person of her caliber and accomplishment will be joining the department’s senior leadership team.”

Vasterling brings to the department more than 20 years of experience in state government and public health.Currently, Vasterling serves as Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, a position in which she works directly with the Director of DMH on issues impacting both departments. Among her achievements as Director of DHSS, Vasterling led the effort to certify the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory as an Ebola testing lab, oversaw a significant expansion of Missouri’s newborn screening services, and made licensed child care facilities’ most recent inspection reports available online.

Vasterling began her public service career in 1994 as an Assistant Attorney General and was promoted to the Chief Counsel role of the Litigation Division. As an Assistant Attorney General, Vasterling represented the Department of Mental Health in a variety of complex cases.

Vasterling also served previously as General Counsel for the Department of Corrections and as Deputy Counsel to Gov. Nixon. During her tenure as Deputy Counsel to Gov. Nixon, Vasterling served as the liaison to the Department of Mental Health.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish on behalf of seniors, children and families during my tenure as Health Director, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for public wellness by supporting the dedicated men and women at the Department of Mental Health as their counsel,” Vasterling said. “The improvements and achievements of DMH over the past few years have been exciting to watch, and I’m pleased to be joining their efforts.”

Vasterling has a BSBA from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a JD from Washington University School of Law. The Missouri Department of Mental Health continues to oversee the implementation of a number of Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature accomplishments in the areas of mental health including:

  • Helping Missourians in mental health crisis get the care they need with new Community Mental Health Liaisons to work with law enforcement and the courts;
  • Establishing and expanding the Partnership for Hope, helping to make Missouri a top 5 state in services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • Eliminating the waiting list for in-home Medicaid services for Missourians with developmental disabilities; and
  • Constructing a new state-of-the-art mental hospital in Fulton, replacing one opened in 1851.

###

Missouri’s Health Home program receives national recognition

Innovative model for providing integrated healthcare has saved Missouri taxpayers $36.3 million since 2011

[October 7, 2015, JEFFERSON CITY, MO] – Missouri’s Health Home program, which has saved taxpayers $36.3 million since 2011, will receive the annual Gold Award for Community-Based services from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at a ceremony in New York City.

“The Missouri Health Home team is honored to receive the Gold Achievement Award from the American Psychiatric Association,” said Dr. Joe Parks, MO HealthNet Director. “Since 2011, we have implemented several innovations involving information technology, performance measures, personal patient centered interactions, and payment methodologies. Most importantly, we have forged strong partnerships across the state to improve health, save lives, and contain costs.”

This unique program is a collaborative effort among the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Social Services, MO HealthNet and the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Individuals with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. The Health Home initiative is an innovative model providing 40,000 medically needy Medicaid participants with comprehensive care management through health homes and disease management, with proven results – lowering costs, reducing hospitalizations and improving cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

“This is the cutting edge of community mental health care. A large number of people with serious mental illnesses also have co-occurring, chronic, life threatening medical conditions,” said Mark Stringer, Director of the Department of Mental Health. “Good case management coordinates services to improve health outcomes and overall quality of life for these individuals.”

Health Homes target individuals with serious mental illness and chronic health problems, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma. It also utilizes nurse care managers and community support specialists to coordinate care for individuals identified and enrolled in the Health Home program.

The following bullet points highlight several outcomes of the Health Homes program:

  • Participants have lowered their cholesterol enough to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
  • Participants have lowered their blood pressure enough to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 16% and their risk of stroke by 42%.
  • Participants have lowered their hemoglobin enough to reduce their risk of diabetes related deaths by 21%, heart attacks by 14%, and micro-vascular complications by 37%.
  • In a recent analysis, the Primary Care and Health Homes have saved $36.3 million net savings and $60 per member per month for both programs combined.

The Gold Award is the APA’s highest level of recognition for a service program and comes with a $3,500 donation. The Health Home Team has designated the recipient of the monetary award as the Missouri Mental Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to public education and reducing discrimination against people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders.

This is the second national recognition the Health Homes program will receive in the month of October. The National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) chose the program for a case study to be presented at its Annual Management and Leadership Institute in Denver, CO, October 7-9, 2015.

###

Mental health initiative marks second anniversary and continues to produce life-changing results, Gov. Nixon says

In first two years, Community Mental Health Liaisons have made more than 12,300 referrals to professional care

[October 5, 2015, JEFFERSON CITY] – Joining Americans across the country in recognizing Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 4-10), Gov. Jay Nixon today applauded the efforts of the Missouri Department of Mental Health in implementing his Strengthening Mental Health Initiative, which marks its second anniversary this month.

“In its first two years, this initiative has already changed thousands of lives by helping Missourians with mental illness get the care they need, when they need it,” Gov. Nixon said. “Moving forward, my administration will continue to identify fiscally responsible ways to expand access to mental health care and enhance public safety in communities across the state.”

In 2013, following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn, Gov. Nixon called for a series of fiscally responsible measures to improve the way Missouri cares for individuals whose mental illness is so severe that it makes them a threat to themselves or others. Working with members of the General Assembly, the Governor secured $10 million annually for the Strengthening Mental Health Initiative in the Fiscal Year 2014, Fiscal Year 2015 and Fiscal Year 2016 budgets.

“This strategic initiative to improve frontline mental health services is a great example of bipartisanship in action,” said Gov. Nixon. “Here in Missouri, we have worked together to enhance public safety and help Missourians with mental illness and their families live fuller, more productive lives.”

A cornerstone of the initiative was the placement of new Community Mental Health Liaisons to work with law enforcement and court personnel to connect people in behavioral health crises to treatment.

In the two years since its implementation, the Strengthening Mental Health Initiative has already produced measurable results:

Community Mental Health Liaisons (CMHLs)

  • 31 Liaisons have been hired statewide to work with law enforcement and court personnel to connect people in behavioral health crises to treatment.
  • CMHLs have made more than 21,500 contacts with law enforcement and court officials, and more than 12,300 referrals to professional care.
  • They have provided more than 280 trainings on behavioral health topics with more than 3,200 officers trained (October 2014-July2015). These trainings are provided at no cost to law enforcement and are Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified.

Emergency Room (ER) Enhancement Project

  • Projects are located in seven parts of the state—in 61 hospitals and health centers—for people in behavioral health crises.
  • More than 2,236 individuals have received services.
  • Outcomes for individuals who have received services include: 60% decrease in both ER visits and hospitalizations, 70% decrease in homelessness, 54% decrease in arrests, 32% increase in employment, and 119% increase in treatment program enrollment.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training

  • Almost 4,000 Missourians have been trained to recognize the early warning signs of mental illness and provide basic assistance.
  • Missouri now ranks fifth in the nation in the number of individuals trained in Mental Health First Aid.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

  • More than 1,200 law enforcement personnel have been trained on how to approach and assist individuals who are in mental health crisis.

Family-to-Family education

  • Over 900 family members of loved ones suffering from serious mental illness have received training and education provided by the Missouri Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

###

DMH and ReDiscover Offer Specialized Outpatient Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

[September 9, 2015, Lee's Summit, MO] – The Department of Mental Health (DMH) announces ReDiscover as the designated Deaf Services Specialized Outpatient Center for the western portion of Missouri.  This is part of a statewide mental health treatment program for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in need of outpatient services.

To provide improved services to the Deaf community, certain staff at ReDiscover has received training on Deaf Culture, American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf mental health services.  ReDiscover recognizes the unique aspects of Deaf culture and provides a culturally affirmative and sensitive treatment environment that stresses the importance of ASL as the medium of communication. ReDiscover will offer in-person comprehensive mental health services to individuals in the Kansas City area, as well as offer therapy services statewide via Telehealth. 

“We are pleased to offer a full spectrum of outpatient services for deaf or hard of hearing individuals including therapy, medication management and case management,” says Stewart Chase, Senior Vice President for ReDiscover. “The Telehealth equipment is exciting as it provides a way for our clinicians to serve those that are unable to travel to one of our existing facilities.”

For additional information about ReDiscover’s Deaf services go to rediscovermh.org/deafservices.htm.

###

Missouri ranks third nationally in services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Gov. Nixon’s mental health priorities help individuals with disabilities participate in and contribute to their communities

[July 20, 2015, Jefferson City] A new national report demonstrates the continued success of efforts to expand community-based services and improve quality of life for Missourians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Gov. Jay Nixon said today. The annual ranking by United Cerebral Palsy shows Missouri is third in the nation – and second most-improved since 2007 – for providing quality services that improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

“When I took office in 2009, many Missourians had spent years waiting to get the community-based services they needed to live fuller, more productive lives,” said Gov. Nixon. “Working together, we changed all that, creating the Partnership for Hope and eliminating the waiting list for in-home Medicaid services for Missourians with developmental disabilities. This national ranking is a great testament to the efforts of our Department of Mental Health, provider agencies and local Senate Bill 40 boards, which continue to make a real, life-changing difference for thousands of Missourians and their families.”

In 2010, Gov. Nixon created the Partnership for Hope, which provides home- and community-based services to Missourians with developmental disabilities and their families. The Partnership for Hope, the first of its kind in the nation, is now helping more than 2,700 people with developmental disabilities in 99 counties and the City of St. Louis. These efforts have now brought the waiting list for in-home services for low-income Missourians with developmental disabilities down to zero for the first time in decades.

The Case for Inclusion is an annual ranking of how well state Medicaid programs serve individuals and families to ensure the same opportunities and quality of life for everyone.The report by United Cerebral Palsy shows Missouri only behind Arizona and Maryland in the inclusion rankings.

The analysis also indicates Missouri’s as the second most improved state since 2007.Missouri dramatically increased the portion of resources dedicated to individuals living in the community (from 59 percent to 86 percent) as well as had a 57 percent reduction in the number of individuals living in state habilitation centers. Also since 2007, Missouri began participating in reporting outcomes for the National Core Indicators (NCI).

Key aspects of a high functioning Medicaid program include promoting independence and productivity; keeping families together by providing access to needed supports so that the assistance the individuals receive helps them lead the life they desire; and making sure environments where individuals life are safe and healthy.

###

Mark Stringer named Director for the Department of Mental Health

Stringer brings extensive experience and strong leadership

[June 18, 2015, Jefferson City] – The Missouri Mental Health Commission is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Stringer as the new Director for the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Stringer was selected from a field of top mental health professionals in the country. He will begin his new role and responsibilities with DMH on July 1, 2015.

“The Commission has the utmost confidence in the abilities and talents of Mark Stringer,” said Commissioner Steve Roling, Chair of the Search Committee. “We look forward to the Department’s continued growth and success with current initiatives and we know Mark will strengthen existing relationships and build new ones as well as carry on the innovative thinking of Keith Schafer and the DMH Senior Management Team.”

Having worked closely with retiring DMH Director Keith Schafer since 2007, Stringer will continue to provide a similar style of the leadership. He has been in the mental health field for more than 28 years and served on the DMH team for 16 years in various roles. For the last 8 years he has been the DMH Director for the Division of Behavioral Health, which underwent a major change in 2009 when the two separate divisions, Comprehensive Psychiatric Services and Alcohol and Drug Abuse, combined into one division. Stringer has an exemplary track record in Missouri and nationally. He will continue to push for strengthening services for consumers and work collaboratively with stakeholders, the Governor’s Office, the Legislature and other state agency leaders.

The 60-day, national search for the new Director included a 12 member advisory stakeholder panel comprised of individuals representing statewide organizations from the fields of behavioral health and developmental disabilities. The panel reviewed applications, interviewed qualified candidates and recommended individuals to the Mental Health Commission. The Commission conducted its own interviews and made the final decision.

###

Gov. Nixon announces appointment of Mark Stringer as new Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health

Nationally-recognized leader has worked directly with Gov. Nixon to strengthen Missouri’s mental health system

[June 18, 2015, Jefferson City] – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that the Missouri Mental Health Commission has appointed Mark Stringer as the new Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health to replace the retiring Director, Dr. Keith Schafer. Stringer will begin his new post on July 1.

“Mark Stringer is a dedicated, experienced and respected leader in the field of mental health who I’ve worked closely with over the last six years to strengthen and improve Missouri’s mental health system,” Gov. Nixon said. “From placing new law enforcement liaisons at each of our community mental health centers to expanding access to Mental Health First Aid training, I’ve been pleased to work with Mark on a number of key initiatives to ensure Missourians with mental health challenges receive the care and treatment they need. I look forward to continuing to work with Mark to build a healthier and safer future for all Missourians.”

Strengthening and expanding Missouri’s mental health system has been a priority of Gov. Nixon and his administration.

In Fiscal Year 2014, the Governor proposed and implemented a strategic initiative to help communities identify and care for Missourians with severe mental illness. One key goal was to provide additional training and resources to local law enforcement officers who are often called to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

In addition to placing 31 mental health liaisons at the state’s Community Mental Health Centers, the initiative also included an expansion of Crisis Intervention and Mental Health First-Aid training and resources for emergency room intervention teams to work with patients needing coordinated care.

The State of Missouri is also moving forward with rebuilding the crumbling Fulton State Mental Hospital. Opened in 1851, Fulton State Hospital is the oldest state psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi River and houses the state’s only maximum security psychiatric facility. The Biggs Forensic Center at Fulton treats patients with serious mental illness who are committed by Missouri courts for evaluation and treatment related to a crime, or who have seriously assaulted patients or staff in other state psychiatric hospitals. Since 2007, Fulton State Hospital has taken in more than 1,500 admissions from 100 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.

Last year, the General Assembly backed the Governor’s plan for replacing the state’s outdated and deteriorating maximum-security psychiatric facility at Fulton with a new state-of-the-art mental hospital that will be safer and more conducive to modern treatment. Last month, Gov. Nixon was joined by state and local officials to break ground on the new Fulton State Psychiatric Hospital campus, with construction expected be completed in 2017.

“As DMH Director for 16 years, Dr. Keith Schafer has left a tremendous legacy of accomplishment, along with an experienced and dedicated leadership team, including Mark Stringer,” Gov. Nixon said. “I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Mark and his team at DMH to build on this tremendous progress.”

###

DMH names new Deaf Services Director

[June 16, 2015, Jefferson City] - The Department of Mental Health is pleased to announce the appointment of David S. Kingsbury as the Director of Deaf Services effective July 1, 2015.

Mr. Kingsbury has a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He is fluent in American Sign Language and active in the Deaf community. Mr. Kingsbury currently works as Director of Student and Outreach Services for the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton. He previously worked as a Community Support Supervisor for Burrell Behavioral Health in Columbia and has extensive experience in working with persons who are Deaf and who have a serious mental illness.

“The Department is excited to have David provide the leadership for the Office of Deaf Services. He has a strong understanding of clinical services as well as experience in and respect for Deaf culture. He also has the strong administrative skills needed to manage a statewide system of mental health care with inpatient and outpatient services for persons who are Deaf,” said Bob Bax, Deputy Director for the Department of Mental Health.

###

Gov. Nixon appoints Mary Patrick Seigfreid of Mexico to Mental Health Commission

[June 5, 2015, Jefferson City] – Gov. Jay Nixon today appointed Mary Patrick Seigfreid, of Mexico, to the Mental Health Commission. The commission appoints the director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health and assists the director in establishing, maintaining and reviewing plans, practices, rules and regulations, facilities, programs and services operated, funded or licensed by the Department.

Seigfreid operated her own law practice in Mexico from 1987 to 2014. She is a former assistant prosecuting attorney in Audrain County as well as a former assistant attorney general. Seigfreid also served as the executive director of the Audrain Medical Center Charitable Foundation from 1985 to 1989. She has been active in numerous charitable, community, education and religious organizations in Audrain County, and was a member of the Audrain County Domestic Violence Task Force.

The Governor has appointed Seigfreid for a term ending June 28, 2017.

###

Department of Mental Health receives $7 million substance abuse treatment grant, Gov. Nixon announces

Speaking to mental health providers at the Lake of the Ozarks, Gov. Nixon highlights continued efforts to expand access to mental health services

[May 29, 2015, Lake of the Ozarks, MO]– Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that the Missouri Department of Mental Health has received a $7 million federal grant to provide recovery support services to more than 4,000 adults with substance use disorders in the Southeast, Southwest, and Kansas City areas.

“This federal grant will strengthen Missouri’s safety net and improve public safety by connecting those in-need with the proper care,” Gov. Nixon said “I appreciate the Department of Mental Health for partnering with community service groups, including faith-based organizations, to reach out to individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders and providing them the tools needed for long-term recovery.”

The Access to Recovery grant was awarded to Missouri’s Department of Mental Health’s Division of Behavioral Health being by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the amount of $7 million over three years. The target population of these services includes active military members and Veterans, individuals involved in the criminal justice or child welfare systems, people who are homeless, and pregnant or parenting women.

“Over the last nine years, the Access to Recovery movement of faith-based providers, partnering with social and community supports, has helped thousands of Missourians find the critical supports they need to obtain and sustain recovery from substance use disorders,” said Ladell M. Flowers, CEO of Dismas House of Kansas City. “The announcement of the Access to Recovery grant award is an answer to prayer for those who depend on these vital services, and we look forward to the opportunity to help make the quality of life better for more individuals and families throughout the state.”

The Governor made the announcement at the Department of Mental Health’s spring training at Lake of the Ozarks, where he discussed efforts by his administration to strengthen Missouri’s mental health care system.

In Fiscal Year 2014, the Governor proposed and implemented a strategic initiative to help communities identify and care for Missourians with severe mental illness.

The initiative included an expansion of Crisis Intervention and Mental Health First-Aid training and resources for emergency room intervention teams to work with patients needing coordinated care. The initiative also included placing 31 mental health liaisons at the state’s Community Mental Health Centers.

To date, there have been more than 19,000 contacts between Community Mental Health Liaisons, law enforcement and the courts, with 9,800 referrals to mental health services.

The Governor has continued to include funding for these efforts in his subsequent budget proposals. The Missouri General Assembly has followed the Governor’s recommendations each year, with funding continuing into Fiscal Year 2016, which begins July 1.

“I appreciate the legislature coming together to pass a bipartisan budget that recognizes the important role our mental health providers play in their communities,” Gov. Nixon said. “While these efforts are not a cure-all, they are an important step toward helping more Missourians get the care they need.”

###

Gov. Nixon breaks ground on new Fulton State Psychiatric Hospital campus

[May 27, 2015, FULTON, MO] – Gov. Jay Nixon today marked a historic moment for Missouri’s mental health system as he joined state and local officials in breaking ground on the new Fulton State Psychiatric Hospital campus.The event took place in front of the existing administration building, which will eventually be rebuilt and become the front entrance of the new hospital.

“We are morally obligated to provide Missourians suffering from severe mental illness the best care and treatment possible, in a safe and secure therapeutic environment,” Gov. Nixon said. “That is precisely what they will receive here at the new Fulton State Hospital.”

Last year, the General Assembly backed the Governor’s plan for replacing the state’s outdated and deteriorating maximum-security psychiatric facility at Fulton with a new state-of-the-art mental hospital that will be safer and more conducive to modern treatment.

“The safety of staff and patients is critical to creating an environment of recovery and treatment,” said Dr. Keith Schafer, Director of the Department of Mental Health.“This will be a high security facility that will last for many generations and have the flexibility to change for future needs.”

More than 200 people attended the ground-breaking ceremony including current and former legislators, Callaway County and City of Fulton elected officials, staff from the Department of Mental Health and the Office of Administration as well as several Fulton community members.

Demolition, abatement and construction began earlier this month. Construction is projected to be complete by December 2017.The last building to be demolished will be the maximum security Biggs Forensic Center after the patients have moved into the new facility in the spring of 2018.

Fulton State Hospital, built in 1851, is the oldest state psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi River. The Biggs and Guhleman Forensic Centers on the campus treat patients with serious mental illness who are committed by Missouri courts for evaluation and treatment related to a crime, or who have seriously assaulted patients or staff in our other state psychiatric hospitals.

Biggs is the state’s only maximum security psychiatric facility. Since 2007, the facility has taken in over a thousand admissions from 99 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.

For the latest information on the Fulton State Mental Hospital construction visit http://fultonrebuild.mo.gov/

###

Stringer participates on the National level in Congressional Testimony and a Health Home Case Study

[May 15, 2015, Jefferson City] - Director for the Division of Behavioral Health, Mark Stringer, is representing Missouri and the Department of Mental Health on various topics on the national level. Below are brief descriptions of just a couple of the projects in which Stringer is currently involved.

The National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) and a group from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences recently selected the Missouri Health Home project for a case study that will be presented at the NASCA Annual Management and Leadership Institute in Denver this October. The current president of NASCA is Mr. Doug Nelson, Commissioner of the Office of Administration. Harvard fellows will conduct phone interviews with the key DSS staff, including Dr. Joe Parks, as well as DMH staff and community providers. They will then visit Missouri June 15-17 to conduct in-depth interviews and make site visits. Dr. Parks and Mark Stringer will participate in the presentation at the October conference.

Mark Stringer was invited to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on May 21 in Washington, DC. Rep. Tim Murphy, chairman of the committee, invited four states to talk about state-level efforts to address the epidemic of opiate addiction. Missouri was included because it leads the country in incorporating medication-assisted treatment for alcohol and opiate use disorders throughout its publicly funded treatment system.

For more information about these events contact Debra Walker at debra.walker@dmh.mo.gov.

###

Mental Health Commission announces Stakeholders for the Advisory Panel

New DMH Director Search gathers representatives from statewide groups

[May 1, 2015, JEFFERSON CITY, MO] The Missouri Mental Health Commission announces the names of those who will serve on the Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the new Department of Mental Health Director search. The following 12 individuals were chosen by their statewide organizations to represent the fields of behavioral health and developmental disabilities.

  • Ladell Flowers, Alcohol and Drug Abuse State Advisory Council
  • Tim Harlan, NAMI Missouri, former Missouri State Representative
  • Dan Haug, Chair, Department of Mental Health, Division of Administration
  • Val Huhn, Department of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Greg Kramer, Missouri Associations of Rehabilitation Facilities (MARF)
  • Mickie McDowell, Comprehensive Psychiatric Services State Advisory Council
  • Brent McGinty, Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Health
  • Mark Ohrenberg, Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities
  • Brenda Schell, Missouri Recovery Network
  • Charlie Shields, Truman Medical Center and former Missouri State Senator
  • Les Wagner, Missouri Association of County Developmental Disabilities Services
  • Dr. Roy Wilson, Department of Mental Health, St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center

The Stakeholder Advisory Panel will serve as an advisory group for the Mental Health Commission. The panel, chaired by Dan Haug, will review applications, interview qualified candidates and recommend individuals to the Mental Health Commission. The final decision will be made by the Mental Health Commission after it conducts its own interviews with the top candidates.

Applications for the Director position will be accepted until the close of business on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Click here for the complete job description. Any questions regarding the search process should be directed to Debra Walker at debra.walker@dmh.mo.gov or 573-751-1647.

###

DMH Deputy Director Announces Retirement

[May 1, 2015] Deputy Director for the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), Bob Bax announced his plans to retire at the end of May 2015. Bax was appointed as Deputy Director in July 2013, but has served for many years in other roles. He was hired in 1990 as the Director of Public Affairs and served in that role for 23 years. In 1999, DMH added Legislative Liaison to his duties. He has more than 26 years of state public service, including nearly 25 years at DMH.

Director Keith Schafer expressed tremendous gratitude for Bax’s service.“Bob Bax has been an experienced, dedicated and compassionate leader at DMH. He has been instrumental in communicating internally and externally the many changes that have occurred at DMH through the years, and he led numerous efforts at the Capitol regarding legislative proposals and actions to make sure the best interests of DMH clients and the department were represented and served. I never had a better, more talented or more loyal senior manager than Bob Bax.”

In 2008, Bax also played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Missouri Mental Health Foundation (MMHF), organizing and planning the first Annual Mental Health Champions’ Banquet. A few years later he garnered the necessary legislative support to put MMHF in state statute so it could assist DMH to fulfill one of its statutory goals: to promote public understanding for Missourians with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and addictions.

Although Bax is officially retiring at the end of May, he will continue on a temporary basis to provide transitional oversight for the Department and leadership to the Office of Deaf Services until a new Director is hired.

###

Director of Department of Mental Health Announces Retirement

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), Dr. Keith Schafer, announced his plans to retire June 30, 2015.  He leaves after giving more than 28 years of service to the mental health field, including DMH Director for a total of 16 years serving two different times, 1986-1994 and from 2007-2015.

“The Commission is grateful for Dr. Schafer’s years of service to the Department of Mental Health,” said Neva Thurston, Chair of the Mental Health Commission.  “It has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated, respected and innovative mental health advocate.”

Keith Schafer has been an outstanding leader and dedicated public servant to the thousands of Missourians with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addiction disorders.  Last year he was recognized by the National Council for Behavioral Health with the Inspiring Hope Award during its Awards of Excellence ceremony in Washington DC.  Specifically noted was his ability to connect data and metrics with real-life stories of recovery which has helped sustain essential services in Missouri.

During his tenure, Schafer has provided tireless leadership for DMH through some of the toughest budgetary times, and yet it was during those times when he was able to bring about system changes which have dramatically impacted funding and the range of service options for DMH clients.  He has been at the helm for critical programming changes including Inpatient Redesign, Healthcare Homes, Partnership for Hope, and most recently the efforts to gain bipartisan support to rebuild Fulton State Hospital.

“I have always felt that public service is the noblest of professions,” said Schafer.  “My greatest satisfaction has been to take part in shaping a lasting system change that makes a difference in the lives of the individuals DMH serves.”

The Missouri Mental Health Commission will begin a 60-day national search for a new Director on Friday, March 20, 2015.  Commission Chair, Neva Thurston, has appointed Commissioner Steve Roling to lead the search process which will include assembling a group of statewide representatives from behavioral health and developmental disabilities stakeholder organizations.  The Commission expects to have a new Director hired this summer.

Up-to-date information regarding the search process and timeline will be available Friday, March 20, 2015 on the DMH website www.dmh.mo.gov, by clicking on the button that says “New DMH Director Search.”  You can also contact Debra Walker at debra.walker@dmh.mo.gov or at (573) 751-1647.

###