Missouri is adding another approach to help citizens in crisis get quick access to the right services. The state is opening a dozen 24-hour crisis centers to help Missourians with a variety of needs, including a mental health crisis, another health problem, addiction, a food shortage, finding a place to live, or getting signed up for Medicaid.

Centers are already open in Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, St. Louis County, Wentzville, and Jefferson City. The plan is to have most centers open this year in each Highway Patrol troop region.

Jamie Bartin, who oversees the crisis centers for Compass Health Network, says the goal is to avoid unnecessary emergency medical services and law enforcement visits.

Bartin tells Missourinet that the state recognized more needs to be done to help these individuals. By using the crisis centers, she says the outcome is better for all involved.

“It’s highly costly to have folks brought into the emergency room especially when it’s not appropriate. It’s also not the most effective. We have what we call familiar faces. So individuals that come over and over and over again, which signals to us providers that we’re doing something to not meet their needs,” she says.

She cites one in five people die after going to an emergency room for a suicide attempt.

The number one reason people get help from one of the centers is mental health-related. Substance misuse problems are right behind.

“The services of course, are tailored to what that individual needs. So we can have them, you know, see a prescriber via telehealth to get their meds reviewed or maybe they need to start on a new medication. Or maybe it’s collaborating with their existing provider to see you know what’s going on,” she says.

Bartin says the centers can stabilize the immediate needs of the individuals and case workers will continue to follow up.

“We don’t want to have that revolving door that we see at jails and hospitals and just move it down the road because that’s not helpful. So we want to ensure that we’re actually doing the things that we intend to do,” says Bartin.

According to Bartin, most services provided at the centers do not have out-of-pocket costs for the individuals.

For more information about the crisis centers currently open and staff openings, go to compasshealthnetwork.org

To hear the Show Me Today interview, click below.

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