Delivery of mental health care in Missouri is changing, thanks in large part to a $14 million dollar grant from the federal government.
A federal grant, 240 people meeting to discuss mental health issues and public hearings throughout the state: it all resulted in a Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health approved by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.
Diane McFarland has been heading up Missouri’s move to change mental health, with a top priority of removing the stigma that prevents people from seeking treatment for mental illness. That stigma, says McFarland, prevents people from seeking help and prevents friends and relatives from understanding how to help those struggling with mental problems.
Also high on the agenda: integrating health care with mental health care and teaching people how to better diagnose and treat their own mental health problems.
McFarland says the obstacles to mental health treatment need to be torn down. She says those obstacles frustrate those seeking treatment. She says frustration can build, keep the mentally ill from getting the help they need and ultimately lead to a trip to the emergency room.
McFarland says she’s excited about the changes coming to Missouri mental health care.