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Millions in mental health assistance funds on the way to Northeast Missouri healthcare center – WGEM

Posted: February 11, 2021 at 6:50 am

HANNIBAL, (WGEM) -- Mental health specialists at Mark Twain Behavioral Health in Hannibal said they have seen more suicides, suicide attempts and substance abuse since the pandemic began, but they said help is on the way in the form of millions of dollars.

Jessica Sublette, School Based Therapy Coordinator at MTBH, said her work with kids across the region reveals the real impact this past year has had on people.

"For some people in some families, it's caused increased trauma, those have just been some after effects we've had to deal with in the mental health community," said Sublette.

She said things like substance abuse and more have become more prevalent, and it's taken its toll.

"Our programs have had to increase the services we provide in order to deal with these repercussions," said Sublette.

Director of Marketing and Community Development at MTBH Rhonda Byers said $8.7 million in COVID-19 relief grant funds are heading to three certified community behavioral health clinics, and they're expected to get $3.4 million.

"This will afford us to probably hire more crisis counselors, more counselors in the building as well, even possibly more peer support specialists," said Byers.

Peer support specialists are people who have been there before and are now helping those struggling.

"It'll just help us to all around really fill in some of the gaps we haven't been able to fill in before," said Byers.

Sublette said they're looking forward to helping more people.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity we have to really enhance some of the services that we already provide to be able to increase crisis services, therapy services," said Sublette, "on an out patient basis."

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt released a statement when the funding was announced.

"These clinics have proven successful in getting people comprehensive mental health and addiction services sooner and closer to home," said Blunt.

"I'll keep working with my colleagues to ensure CCBHs have the funding they need through the pandemic and beyond."

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Millions in mental health assistance funds on the way to Northeast Missouri healthcare center - WGEM

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