Deaf Services - Specialized Services

The Office of Deaf Services (ODS) oversees specialized, culturally affirmative Deaf Services. ODS also works with all DMH-contracted providers to ensure that culturally appropriate services and effective communication are available. See below for more information.

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. People must meet eligibility requirements to receive services.

Serious Mental Illness

Mental health services through the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) 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 see the Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) section below.

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 directly 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 through the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD) 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.

People 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.

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

988 Videophone Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 

If you or someone you know is in a mental health, suicide, or alcohol or drug use crisis, help is available. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has options for Videophone (VP), Chat, Text, and Voice calls. To call by TTY relay, first dial 711 and then 988.

Crisis specialists fluent in ASL answer videophone calls. Crisis specialists trained in the needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people answer most texts and chats in Missouri.

Reach a 988 crisis specialist now:

VP 988 or dial 988 from your VP  |  Text 988  |  Chat 988  |  Dial 988 by phone

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a free and confidential service available to everyone.

For more information, visit or

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. People 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 click ASL NOW, call 1-800-985-5990 from their videophone or visit Crisis workers fluent in ASL answer videophone calls.

Crisis Text Line

The Crisis Text Line​ is a free, 24/7 text-messaging support line for people in crisis. In partnership with Gallaudet University, the Crisis Text Line has workers trained to help Deaf people. Text the word DEAF to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.

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. Find the ACI Hotline for your county.

Community Mental Health Centers

Mental health services for the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) are accessed through 25 service areas.  A person's local Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) determines their eligibility and provide these services. All CMHCs are required to meet DMH standards for services to Deaf consumers. To request services, please contact your local Community Mental Health Center.

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. Individual counseling is available statewide through telehealth. For more information, please contact your closest SOC.

BJC Behavioral Health Deaf Services
Laura Shapiro, MSW, ACSW, LCSW
1150 Graham Road, Suite 102
St. Louis, MO 63031
Cell: 314-210-4301

ReDiscover Deaf Services
Elijah Buchholz, MA, LPC, LCAC
1535 NE Rice Road
Lee's Summit, MO 64086
Cell: 913-709-5540

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

University Health at Hospital Hill 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:

University Health 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

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 Directory.

DMH 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.

Constituent Rights Consumer Grievance Form 


Deaf Services Contact Information for Offices and Programs