Listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson interview the new director of Missouri’s DMH, mark Stringer

After reviewing the qualifications of many mental health professionals from around the country, the Missouri Mental Health Commission appointed Mark Stringer the new Director for the Missouri Department of Mental Health.  He will succeed retiring director Keith Schaefer with whom Stringer has worked closely since 2007.

Stringer began in the mental health field nearly 30 years ago, and has served the DMH for 16 years.

New changes for DMH, according to Stringer will not include any personnel changes, but the most immediate event on the horizon is the upcoming Excellence in Mental Health Act.  It is a largely bi-partisan legislation meant to continue to improve access to behavioral health treatment.

Stringer also says he will continue to implement initiatives in place for treating mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and developmental disabilities.  Programs such as partnership for hope, and the community mental health liason program in conjunction with local law enforcement, he indicates are critical functions of DMH.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had high praise for Stringer saying, “Mark Stringer is a dedicated, experienced and respected leader in the field of mental health who I’ve worked closely with over the last six years to strengthen and improve Missouri’s mental health system,” Gov. Nixon continues, “From placing new law enforcement liaisons at each of our community mental health centers to expanding access to Mental Health First Aid training, I’ve been pleased to work with Mark on a number of key initiatives to ensure Missourians with mental health challenges receive the care and treatment they need.  I look forward to continuing to work with Mark to build a healthier and safer future for all Missourians.”

Stringer will begin his position on July 1st.

Approximately 170,000 Missourians per year are served by DMH.

Visit Missouri’s DMH website:  dmh.mo.gov

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Missouri Department of Mental Health Director Mark Stringer