After Mental Health Awareness Month in May, I wanted to share with readers how we continue to invest in life-changing and life-saving programs and services for those suffering from severe mental illness or substance-use disorder.
During the first week of May, we completed an unprecedented budget for mental health providers across the state. These investments are specifically aimed to connect our state’s resources across the broad spectrum of hospitals, law enforcement and mental health providers, and improve cooperation between these entities to get people into treatment as quickly as possible.
Behavioral health conditions, and the people who suffer from them, have long been underfunded and underserved in this country. Entrance into treatment has routinely been through improper portals consisting mainly of emergency rooms and the penal system, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Only recently has the state begun to focus its attention on front-line interaction and immediate treatment. This attention frees up countless hours for law enforcement officials and emergency room personnel.
These issues in behavioral health will not go away without continued transformative, generational investments into the access of services, a continuum of care, crisis response and placements that will connect individuals in need to immediate treatment. The Missouri Senate, during this past session, has acted on these needs. Understanding the reality that law enforcement and hospitals are not the best or most cost-effective treatment providers for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis has been key. As the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, I will continue to urge the committee to see the value in these investments going forward.
Key investments in behavioral health care:
These are just a few of the investments into the behavioral health care system we have made here in Missouri. The need for mental health and substance-use services will not go away anytime soon. My colleagues and I will continue to provide the necessary resources needed to fight this silent epidemic.
Missouri state Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, can be reached through Senate.Mo.gov.
Springfield Business Journal’s 2023 Trusted Advisers event honors 20 businesspeople.