2024 News Releases



MO Eating Disorders Council announces two Eating Disorders Centers for Excellence

Burrell Behavioral Health and Ozark Center programs receive designation

February 28 2024 - Jefferson City, MO —

The Missouri Eating Disorders Council (MOEDC), founded in 2010, is pleased to announce that two Missouri community mental health centers have earned the designation of Eating Disorders Center of Excellence for providing integrated, evidence-based treatment to better serve their communities.  The Ozark Center Reconnect program and the Burrell Behavioral Health’s RecoverED program have both undergone rigorous training in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders and are equipped to handle the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in what was previously an under-served area for those suffering. 

According to Annie Seal, Chairman of MOEDC, “This increased access to care is an important service for rural Missourians. Prior to the Reconnect and RecoverED programs, care was consolidated in Kansas City and St. Louis, making complete treatment extremely difficult to obtain in Joplin or Springfield.  Both Reconnect and RecoverED deserve tremendous credit for making life-saving care available in their areas.”

Eating disorders (EDs) are common, disabling, and costly mental health problems that affect up to 10% of individuals in their lifetimes. However, there is an extremely wide treatment gap for EDs, and over 80% of individuals with EDs do not receive treatment even though eating disorders are the second most fatal of all the mental illnesses. Early intervention is important because untreated symptoms become more frequent, severe, and persistent over time, and early diagnosis combined with treatment intervention is associated with better outcomes. 

Prior to the MOEDC’s inception, there were major barriers to treatment for Missourians struggling with EDs.  Since its launch, the MOEDC has focused on positively impacting access to care throughout Missouri with two main programs:  the 360 Training Program and the Body U Program.  The 360 Training Program provides free training for healthcare providers in evidence-based therapies and promotes fully integrated care teams to meet the needs of those suffering.  

To date the MOEDC has trained over 500 healthcare providers in these therapies who work in mental health practices. Centers, like Reconnect and RecoverED, undergo the full curriculum and are trained to diagnose and treat a previously under-served population with evidence-based therapies.  

Body U is a free online program that is based on decades of research and is comprised of multiple evidence-based components, including an online EDs screening; a digital self-help program for individuals at low risk of developing an ED; a digital self-help program for individuals at high risk of developing an ED; a coached digital program for individuals with clinical/subclinical EDs other than anorexia nervosa [AN]; and referrals to providers trained by the MOEDC for those screening positive for AN. Since the launch of the Body U initiative in 2013, nearly 13,500 people have completed the Body U screen, with 41.4% (n=5,582) screening as high risk for an ED and 31.0% (n=4,182) screening positive for a clinical or subclinical ED diagnosis. This free program is available to all Missourians age 18 and older and can be accessed at BodyU.org.

The MOEDC is proud to have helped make exceptional care available at both the Ozark Center Reconnect and Burrell Behavioral Health’s RecoverED programs.  

Seal says, “These two centers are examples of what’s possible when dedicated healthcare professionals see the pain caused by this illness and are willing to do something about it. The MOEDC’s mission is to provide treatment in areas that were previously void of eating disorders treatment.  These two centers show we can fill the gaps and make a positive difference.  I genuinely believe these treatment facilities will save lives and mitigate extreme suffering.”

For more information contact Annie Seal at (314) 591-3341, annieseal@sbcglobal.net or visit Missouri Eating Disorders Council for more information on our trainings and online programs.


About the Missouri Eating Disorders Council

The Missouri Eating Disorders Council (MOEDC), under the auspices of the MO Department of Mental Health, provides eating disorders education, awareness, and treatment provider training initiatives throughout the state.  The MOEDC has two main programs: the Eating Disorders 360 Program that is focused on Missouri healthcare provider training and the Body U program that makes eating disorders treatment available in a proven, evidence-based online program. MOEDC aims to increase access to treatment throughout the state to positively impact access to, and quality of, treatment.

About The Ozark Center Reconnect Program – Ozark Center is based in Joplin, Missouri, and has been an entity of Freeman Health System since 1996. It has been providing comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults and families since 1965 in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from four states. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the behavioral health needs of the community and promote awareness of behavioral health issues in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, visit ozarkcenter.com or call 417.347.7600.

About Burrell Behavioral Health:
Established in 1977, Burrell Behavioral Health works with more than 40,000 clients across 25 counties in Missouri and Arkansas. Burrell has more than 400 licensed providers offering a full continuum of care through our integrated network. Services include individual therapy and counseling, addiction recovery, psychiatric and medication management, educational and therapeutic groups, crisis intervention, medication-assisted treatment, adult stabilization, case management, residential treatment, autism, diagnostic testing and evaluations and developmental disability support. Learn more about Burrell’s programs and services at www.burrellcenter.com.


2024-2028 Missouri Suicide Prevention Plan Now Available

Helping citizens prevent and lower the risk of suicide in their communities 

January 29 2024 - Jefferson City, MO —

A newly published statewide plan is now available to help Missourians prevent and lower the risk of suicide in their families and communities. The five-year plan was written by the Missouri Suicide Prevention Network (MSPN) in partnership with the Missouri Behavioral Health Council and the Department of Mental Health. 

Missouri continues to have a higher suicide rate of 18.7 compared to the national average of 14.04 per 100,000 people.  The Missouri Suicide Prevention Plan (MSPP) offers suggestions for what citizens can do in their communities to make a difference. Actions to take now include visiting Missouri988.org, spreading the word about 988, getting trained, and supporting community-led efforts to promote suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention care.

Read the Missouri Suicide Prevention Plan to learn how to make a difference. 

Raising public awareness about suicide risk and prevention is a top priority for the MSPN, which is a group of independent, non-partisan, volunteers and representatives from public and private agencies that lead statewide suicide prevention efforts. Additional priorities include supporting local coalitions and partnering with diverse groups impacted by suicide to increase awareness of suicide prevention resources. MSPN is willing and available to help communities put plans into practice. Email MSPN at admin@mospn.org for assistance or go to Missouri Suicide Prevention Network for additional information and resources.

For more information, contact Debra Walker at debra.walker@dmh.mo.gov or 573-751-1647.


Need to talk or get immediate assistance in a crisis? Help is available. Call or text 988 or chat with Missouri 988.