Information for Consumers & Families

How the DMH System Works

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is a State agency that serves people with three different types of needs: serious mental illness, alcohol and drug use, and developmental disabilities. DMH contracts with private mental health agencies or county services boards to provide most services, but some services are provided at state-operated facilities.

The DMH system is a safety net for people with the most serious needs. Individuals must meet eligibility requirements to receive services.

Serious Mental Illness

Comprehensive psychiatric services are for people with a serious mental illness that results in serious functional limitations in at least two major life areas. To request services, please contact your local Community Mental Health Center (CMHC).

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may also contact a Deaf Services Specialized Outpatient Center to find out how to receive specialized services in sign language. Or find out if your local CMHC has a Deaf Services Advocate you can contact.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Substance use treatment services are for people with an alcohol or drug use problem. Different programs are available to meet different needs based on age, gender, and type of substance use. Treatment for compulsive gambling is also available. To learn more, see How to Get Help.

Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disability services are for people with a developmental disability that started before age 22 and results in serious functional limitations in at least two major life areas. Some examples of developmental disabilities are intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, head injuries, and genetic syndromes.

Individuals with serious functional limitations in at least three major life areas may qualify for a Medicaid Waiver Program. These programs offer a wider range of services designed to maximize independence in the community.

To learn more or apply for services, please contact your local DD Regional Office.

Crisis Services

For immediate help in all crises, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

DEAFline Missouri Crisis Hotline

DEAFline Missouri is a 24-hour crisis hotline providing free and confidential help for deaf and hard of hearing people statewide. Individuals may call or text for support with family troubles, homelessness, loneliness and depression, and a wide variety of other problems. DEAFline is also for mental health providers to use when serving deaf people.

  • Toll Free Voice/VRS/TTY: 800-380-3323
  • Videophone (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.): 573-303-5604
  • Text HAND to 839863 (Standard message and data rates apply. Text STOP to opt out.)

Disaster Distress Helpline in ASL

The federal Disaster Distress Helpline for disaster survivors and responders is now available directly in American Sign Language. ASL users can call 1-800-985-5990 from their videophone or visit and click on the "ASL NOW" button. Crisis workers fluent in ASL will answer the videophone calls.

Access Crisis Intervention Hotline

Deaf and hard of hearing people in mental health crisis or seeking services may also contact Missouri's Access Crisis Intervention (ACI) system through VRS, TTY relay (dial 711), or voice.

Deaf Services Specialized Outpatient Centers

Specialized Outpatient Centers (SOCs) provide services from mental health professionals who are fluent in American Sign Language and affirm Deaf culture. Services are available on-site and in the community in the St. Louis and Lee's Summit areas. For more information, please contact your closest SOC.

BJC Behavioral Health
Deaf Services Team
Laura Shapiro, MSW, ACSW, LCSW
3165 McKelvey Road, Suite 200
Bridgeton, MO 63044
Voice: 314-206-3499
VP: 314-266-2636

Deaf Services Team
Brandy Haddock, MS, LPC
1535 NE Rice Road 
Lee's Summit, MO 64086 
Voice: 816-966-0900 

The SOCs also provide individual counseling statewide through telehealth. To access these services, contact your local Community Mental Health Center.

The Office of Deaf Services also works with all DMH-contracted providers to ensure that culturally appropriate services and effective communication are available.

Deaf Services Specialized Inpatient Units

Specialized Inpatient Units (SOCs) provide inpatient psychiatric services from mental health professionals who are trained in Deaf culture and mental health needs of Deaf people.

Acute Care

Truman Medical Center at Hospital Hill (TMC) provides adult acute (short-term) inpatient services with an interpreter. Admissions are through Truman's emergency room or by transfer from another hospital. For more information, contact:

TMC Deaf Services Unit
Robert Ellis, Program Director
1000 E 24th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Voice: 816-404-3800

    Intermediate & Long Term Care

    St. Louis Forensic Treatment Center (FTC, formerly St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center) provides long-term inpatient services. Some services are provided with an interpreter, and some are available directly in American Sign Language. Admissions are through your local Community Mental Health Center. For more information, click below or contact:

    FTC Deaf Services Program
    Tim Robbins, Program Director
    5300 Arsenal Street
    St. Louis, MO 63139
    Voice: 314-877-5945

    Deaf Services Advocates Program

    Deaf Services Advocates are employees of Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) or substance use treatment providers who have received specialized training from the Office of Deaf Services. They support culturally appropriate services and effective communication for deaf and hard of hearing people served by their agencies.

    To learn more about the program and find out if there is a Deaf Services Advocate in your area, see Deaf Services Advocates Program.

    Office of Constituent Services

    DMH clients and family members may contact the Office of Constituent Services regarding concerns about mental health facilities or community providers in various ways. Please use the above link for additional information.