News Releases for 2017

Contact: Debra Walker, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs, 573-751-1647 or [email protected]


Law Enforcement Officers from across Missouri gather to focus on Mental Health

3rd Annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Conference in Columbia

[March 28, 2017, COLUMBIA, MO] —The 3rd Annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) conference was held Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Expo Center in Columbia, MO. More than 500 law enforcement officers, first responders and behavioral health professional attended the event this year! The purpose of CIT is to address the challenges that often arise when law enforcement officers encounter individuals with behavioral health conditions in crisis situations.

“This conference brings law enforcement and behavioral health professionals together to determine better ways of serving those with serious mental illness or substance use disorders who come in contact with the criminal justice system,” said Sgt. Jeremy Romo, CIT Council Coordinator.  “It results in safer communities and better outcomes for our citizens and our law enforcement officers.”

The CIT program trains law enforcement to guide individuals to appropriate mental health services and offer support, instead of sending them directly to the criminal justice system. The 40-hour training covers mental illness, crisis response, active listening, tactical communication/de-escalation, and mental health law. CIT officers learn basic assessment skills for handling situations and are provided with knowledge of local behavioral health services. CIT Training serves as both a jail diversion as well as a means to mental health assistance.

This annual conference is hosted by the Missouri Crisis Intervention Team (MO CIT) Council. CIT is most effective when everyone works together for the best outcome; law enforcement, behavioral health providers, community leaders and individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders and their families.

For more information about Missouri CIT contact Sgt. Jeremy Romo at 314-581-5459 or e-mail [email protected].



Show Me Zero Suicide Academy Offers Missouri Health & Behavioral Healthcare Providers an Approach to Suicide Safe Care

 2nd Missouri Show Me Zero Suicide Academy

[March 14-15, 2017, Jefferson City, MO] – The Department of Mental Health participated in the 2nd Show Me Zero Suicide Academy to transform health and behavioral health care systems to reduce suicides among people in its care. In the two-day training, health and behavioral healthcare organizations learned how to incorporate best and promising practices to improve care and safety for those at risk for suicide. Organizations are challenged to make suicide a never event within their own systems of care.  Academy attendees collaborated with the Show Me Zero Suicide Academy faculty to develop action plans. The Academy was sponsored by the Department of Mental Health and the Coalition of Community Behavioral Healthcare Centers.

Here is a link to the Missouri Suicide Safe Care Initiative.

Zero Suicide is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral healthcare with a specific set of tools and strategies. It is both a concept and a practice. Its premise is that suicide deaths for people under care are preventable and that the bold goal of zero suicides among persons receiving care is an aspirational challenge that health and behavioral healthcare systems should accept. The Zero Suicide approach aims to improve care and outcomes for individuals at risk of suicide in health and behavioral healthcare systems.  

The promotion of the adoption of “zero suicides” represents a commitment to patient safety – the most fundamental responsibility of health and behavioral healthcare – and also to the safety and support of staff that treats and support suicidal patients. Transforming care to make suicide a never event occurs through leadership, policies, practices, and outcome measurement. Zero Suicide concepts are embedded in the Joint Commissions 2016 sentinel event alert, trauma informed care initiatives and the Excellence in Mental Health Care demonstration project.

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention ( is the public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and make suicide prevention a national priority. Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) operates the Secretariat for the Action Alliance, which was launched in 2010 by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates with the goal of saving 20,000 lives in five years.



Show Me Hope Crisis Counseling flood grant phases down

Disaster services still available for residents

[February 7, 2017, JEFFERSON CITY, MO] – In response to the devastating flooding on the eastern side of Missouri in December 2015 and into 2016, the Department of Mental Health partnered with three Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) to operate the Show Me Hope Crisis Counseling program grant.  Places for People in St. Louis County, Crider Center serving Franklin, Lincoln and St. Charles Counties, and Comtrea serving Jefferson County provided crisis outreach to individuals and families impacted by the flooding.

As the Show Me Hope program phases down, crisis counselors are still available and working to connect residents with local community mental health resources.  In addition to services through the local CMHCs, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services is operating the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Case Management grant in coordination with the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities of St. Louis.  These agencies are providing long-term recovery case management services.

Individuals who need disaster case management can dial 2-1-1 for more information.  Residents can also contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-985-5990 or send a text message “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

The Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) assists individuals and families in recovery from disasters.  It is a federal program funded by FEMA and administered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The CCP is a short-term disaster relief grant for states, U.S. Territories and federally recognized tribes to run up to a year after the grant is awarded.

For more information contact the CMHC in your area:

Places for People – 314-535-5600

Crider Center – 636-332-6000

Comtrea – 636-931-2700




Kirksville Area Continues to Improve Services to Citizens with Developmental Disabilities

DMH Blue Ribbon Award recognizes communities connecting individuals with disabilities to employment services

[February 1, 2017, JEFFERSON CITY, MO] – The Kirksville area of the Central Missouri region received a Blue Ribbon Award today from the Department of Mental Health (DMH).  This area includes Adair, Clark, Grundy, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby and Sullivan counties. The award recognizes the efforts to connect more than 25 percent of the individuals it serves to employment services. Two individual service organizations, Adair County Senate Bill 40 Board and Macon County Commission for Developmentally Disabled, received Blue Ribbon Awards in late 2016.  Now the entire Kirksville area has reached Blue Ribbon Status.

The Blue Ribbon Award for Empowering Individuals through Employment is given by the DMH Division of Developmental Disabilities. The employment services, which include career planning, job development/placement and employment supports, enable Missourians with developmental disabilities to find and keep jobs within their communities.

“Individuals with disabilities want jobs where their skills and strengths are recognized and valued,” said Division Director, Valerie Huhn. “Through partnerships with local Senate Bill 40 Boards, Targeted Case Management organizations, community providers, and area businesses,  the state has built a committed team to help individuals gain the skills they need to work, earn money and connect with others to build a better life.” 

Gaining access to employment services is often the first step. Many times, services are only needed for a period of months as the individual learns the duties of a job. Then, they can maintain their job without paid supports.

In the Kirksville area, employers like Sodexo, McDonalds, Loch Haven Nursing Home & Apartments, Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, Colton’s, Home Depot, the Coca Cola Company, C&R Markets Shelbina Villa, Community State Bank and many other businesses are engaged in the practice of hiring individuals with disabilities, making competitive employment an achievable goal. Community providers who support these businesses and make this endeavor successful include: Chariton Valley Association, Wider Opportunities, Learning Opportunities, High Hope Employment Services, Access II and Livingston County Development Center.

Missouri is an Employment First state, meaning that all individuals who want to work can work, when given the opportunity to build upon their unique talents, skills and abilities.




Missouri chosen as one of eight states for a pilot program to provide more access to mental health services

Department of Mental Health Team will lead the program

[January 3, 2017, Jefferson City, Missouri]  The Department of Mental Health is pleased to announcement that Missouri has been chosen as one of eight states to participate in a pilot program expanding access to mental health services in community health clinics.

It’s the next step in the Excellence in Mental Health Act introduced by Senators Roy Blunt, R-MO and Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and signed by President Obama in 2014.

Blunt on Wednesday said that one in four Americans suffer mental health problems but only a fraction get care. The designation of Missouri and the seven other states “will help bridge that gap by expanding and improving access to quality mental and behavioral health care,” he said.vertisement

The seven other states chosen by the Department of Health and Human Services are:  Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. They have until July 1 next year to begin the two-year demonstration programs.

Vikki Wachino, deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the demonstration program will allow states to have more access for behavioral health services for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients, and it “will help individuals with mental and substance use disorders obtain the health care they need to maintain their health and well-being.”


Quotes and information provided by St. Louis Post Dispatch article: