Mental health services needed in Northeast Missouri
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -
As news of mental health violence spreads across the country so does the awareness of the need for mental health services. While awareness is growing, are states providing the necessary money to improve care?
Mark Twain Behavioral Health is one of the few places in Northeast MIssouri people can turn to for mental health treatment. With few local facilities, law enforcement and health officials say the need for help grows by the day.
"We have seen an increase in the last few years with the economic crisis and some of the wars and more emotional distress in families than ever," said Mark Twain Behavioral Health CEO Michael Cantrell.
He admits it's not easy for those suffering with mental illness to find help locally. In fact, Cantrell said his department is struggling to keep up with the demand.
"We still have a shortage of resources and so we're not able to see everybody that needs help and therefore we have a waiting list that we haven't always had in the past," he said.
Mental health clinic workers aren't the only professionals who've noticed the uptick in people dealing with a mental illness. Lieutenant Kathy Davis said it's a growing concern with the Hannibal Police Department.
"There has been quite an upsurge with people with mental illnesses, that they either lack services for them, or they end up getting arrested or put in jail," she said.
Police across the state have shared their concerns with lawmakers. The state appropriated millions of dollars last year to help mental health facilities. While Cantrell said his clinic gets 80% of its funding from the state, he would like to see more services in northeast Missouri.
"We probably could certainly use another office up in the Clark County area. I think that would be better. Geographically it would help give us and our residents more access to our services," he said.
State Representative Lindell Shumake of Hannibal said he expects more money to be included in next year's budget to help support mental illness services across the state.