Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have a complaint about the services I have received?

All state-operated mental health facilities and community providers must have a system for complaints and grievances. We ask that you first contact the agency you have a complaint against to attempt to resolve your issue. This is the best way to get a direct response and work out a resolution for your concerns. If you are concerned that a complaint will affect availability of services, or you may be retaliated against, you may contact the Office of Constituent Services at 1-800-364-9687.

How do I complain about services provided by a private psychiatric unit or hospital or a private mental health professional?

The Department of Mental Health does not have authority or responsibility to license or regulate private facilities. Complaints should be directed to the hospital administration or the individual may contact the Division of Health Standards and Licensure at 573-751-6303. If the complaint is in regard to a licensed professional, the individual may contact Professional Registration at 573-751-0293.

I am doing genealogical research about my family and have been told that a family member was hospitalized in a state hospital. How can I find out more about my family member?

Missouri statutes provide for confidentiality of all records for individuals who receive services from the Department or its providers. Those records remain confidential even after the death of a client and cannot be released without a court order as allowed in statute.

I think I need substance abuse treatment or a family member may need treatment. Where can I or a family member go for treatment of a substance abuse?

This situation is not unusual or abnormal. Getting off of drugs or alcohol is hard to do by yourself. The good news is that you do not have to do this by yourself. There are lots of people who can help you. You need to get in touch with a treatment agency in your area because they can help you or your family members get the help needed. Often you do not have to enter a rehabilitation program but can work on your issues on an outpatient basis. Information about programs in your area can be found at ADA Treatment Provider Directory.

My family member needs treatment but does not want to go. What can I do?

There are a number of issues related to getting someone into treatment who does not want to go willingly. It is best if you get in touch with a treatment professional who can assist you with an intervention and getting your loved one into treatment.

What should I do if I suspect that a mental health client or family member may have been the victim of abuse or neglect?

You may call the toll free number at 1-800-364-9687 and ask for the Office of Constituent Services. The office encourages everyone to make the contact for the safety of all clients. All calls will be kept confidential and the caller can choose to remain anonymous.

What can I do if I am experiencing a psychiatric crisis?

Each mental health center listed as a community mental health center operates a 24-hour crisis hotline and mobile response capability.

What if I am concerned about someone who refuses to get services or take their medication as prescribed?

Mental health services are largely voluntary in nature. There are limited circumstances in which someone can be forced to get services.

One method is involuntary civil commitment. Missouri laws allow a judge or law enforcement to send someone to an inpatient psychiatric facility for up to 96 hours for evaluation IF there is reason to believe the individual may, as a result of a mental disorder, be at risk of self-harm or harm to others. These individuals may be kept for longer periods of time if they are determined in a court hearing to continue to meet these criteria.

Another option is guardianship where an individual's mental illness has limited their ability to make decisions. This requires probate court hearing and an order designating an authority for decision-making.

How should I seek help if I think someone, as a result of a mental illness, may be harmful to themselves or others?

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, contact law enforcement immediately. If you are worried about self-harm or harm to others but there is not an immediate danger or threat, contact the crisis line or the local administrative agent for assistance.

If a person is involuntarily committed to a hospital for treatment, who decides when they can leave?

A court initially orders a 96-hour commitment for evaluation. Weekend and holidays do not count toward the 96 hours so if a person is admitted on a Saturday, the 96 hour clock does not start until Monday morning (if it is not a holiday). The facility must release the individual before the 96 hours are complete unless they initiate a court hearing for an additional 21 days of treatment.

If I am an individual who has a guardian, how do I petition the court to restore my legal decision-making authority?

Contact an attorney for assistance.

If I have a family member who is in jail and needs mental health services and/or psychotropic medications, what should I do?

Contact the sheriff or one of his deputies to provide information about the medications and type of services needed. Health care, including mental health care is the responsibility of the county when the individual is incarcerated. The county may have an agreement with a local provider or may request services in some instances.

I am not happy with my caseworker. What can I do to get a different caseworker?

Caseworker assignments are the responsibility of the providing agency. You may contact the Office of Constituent Services, and they will attempt to assist you with working out any differences you may have with the providing agency.