State Mental Health Commission Chairman John Constantino says changes need to be made, at the most basic level, in how the Department of Mental Health reports abuse and neglect. A report from the State Mental Health Commission makes broad suggestions for improving how the department handles such reports. The Mental Health Commission began its investigation in wake of two deaths at the Northwest Habilitation Center in St. Louis and other allegations of abuse in both state-run facilities as well as private mental health facilities that contract with the state. The commisson report makes 23 recommendations, criticizing how the department has reported and investigated patient abuse. Constantino wants a more open investigation process for the family involved and the public at large. He says reports of patient abuse must be investigated appropriately in a timely manner and leadership must have enough information to spot trends. Constantino says that withholding information in the past has harmed the process. Constantino is critical of the state’s financial commitment to mental health care. He says the Department of Mental Health needs more money, that it has suffered too many budget cuts over the years. And he adds that the department’s leadership has defaulted on its resonsibility to make difficult decisions. Constantino says that either more money needs to be budgeted for mental health services or services need to be cut.
Related web sites:
Mental Health Commission Report