Press Release-nixon

HANNIBAL, Mo. – Gov. Nixon met with caregivers at Mark Twain Behavioral Health in Hannibal today to detail his efforts to improve the health and safety of Missouri communities by expanding Missouri’s Strengthening Mental Health Initiative. Gov. Nixon’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017 includes an increase of more than $40 million for services for Missourians with mental health and substance use disorders.

For Missourians in behavioral health crisis who seek treatment in emergency rooms, Gov. Nixon’s balanced budget includes funding to expand the number of emergency room intervention teams, which help connect these individuals to treatment and services. In addition, the Governor announced plans to implement a Crisis Prevention Program for Missourians with severe mental illness and substance use disorders.

“Our community mental health liaisons and emergency room intervention teams have achieved real results, helping thousands of Missourians in crisis,” Gov. Nixon said. “But our work is not done. Too often, Missourians with severe mental illness can’t afford the treatment they need to stay on the road to recovery. As a result, their conditions worsen, with heartbreaking consequences for families and communities. These smart, strategic investments will help thousands of Missourians get the care they need – before they reach a crisis point – making our communities healthier, safer and stronger.”

In 2013, Gov. Nixon called for a series of fiscally responsible measures to improve the way Missouri cares for individuals, whose severe behavioral health conditions have gone untreated, including placing 31 community mental health liaisons (CMHLs) statewide to work with law enforcement and court personnel to connect people in behavioral health crises to treatment.

Working with members of the General Assembly, the Governor secured $10 million annually for the Strengthening Mental Health Initiative in the Fiscal Year 2014, Fiscal Year 2015, and Fiscal Year 2016 budgets. This funding will continue and increase in Fiscal Year 2017.

Another cornerstone of this initiative was the placement of emergency room intervention teams in seven regions of the state, including coordination with 65 hospitals and health centers. Since their implementation, 2,917 individuals have been engaged in Emergency Room Enhancement services. Outcomes for individuals who have received services include a 58 percent decrease in ER visits and a 62 percent decrease in hospitalizations; a 66 percent decrease in homelessness; a 54 percent decrease in arrests; a 32 percent increase in employment; and a 119 percent increase in treatment program enrollment.

The Governor’s balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017, which he presented yesterday in his State of the State address, includes $1.6 million to expand the placement of these emergency room intervention teams to an additional two regions.

The Governor’s balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017 also includes $5.4 million for a Crisis Prevention Program that will be launched later this year. The Crisis Prevention Program will serve approximately 2,000 low-income Missourians between the ages of 21 and 35 who have a severe mental illness or substance use disorders. The Crisis Prevention Program will link these Missourians with out-patient health care services and behavioral health services, and provide ongoing care coordination.

Eligible individuals will be able to access physical and behavioral health services, medications as well as employment services.

To learn more about Gov. Nixon’s balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017, please visit