Nixon calls for mental health funding

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - After years of budget cuts, the Missouri Department of Mental Health is about to get a much needed cash infusion.

Governor Jay Nixon wants to add an additional $10 million for mental health care into next year's budget, including $3.6 million to place mental health liaisons at each of the 29 community mental health centers across the state.

In southeast Missouri, there are four community mental health centers in Farmington, Kennett, Sikeston, and Cape Girardeau.

The new liaison at those locations will work with courts, police, and families to get proper treatment.

"They can eyeball people and tell how problematic their condition really is," said Cheryl Jones, the executive director of Bootheel Counseling Centers.  "And they can work with judges to perhaps get them admitted to a hospital or work with family members to get them the help they need."

More money will also be spend to train teachers, police, and first responders how to better deal with mental health patients.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health estimates 1,100 people could be helped with the additional money every year.

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