Committee Examines Long Waits for State Mental Health Programs

Missouri's Joint Committee on Public Assistance met Wednesday to review the number of people on waiting lists for the Department of Mental Health's many programs. The department oversees seven programs for people with developmental disabilities and at least 20 programs for mental health-related issues like opioid addictions, suicide and compulsive gambling. One of the programs for in-home care for persons with developmental disabilities had 354 people on a waitlist as of Monday.

The committee and department leaders discussed how waitlists can influence whether or not people receive the care they need. Officials said if a person with a mental health issue or substance abuse disorder does call for help and is then told to wait three weeks, it's likely that they won't keep the appointment. One official said more money needs to be appropriated to take care of people on the waiting lists. The joint committee is tasked with looking at 40 to 50 public assistance programs and determining which ones are the most effective.

November 13, 2019 - 9:16am

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