Gov. Jay Nixon today said that Missouri is among the top five states in the number of people trained in Mental Health First Aid and, among that group, leads in the percentage of the population trained. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a national program to teach the skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.

“Mental illness affects thousands of Missourians, but these stories don’t have to end in tragedy,” said Gov. Nixon. “By investing in proven tools like Mental Health First Aid and expanding access to services through our mental health liaisons, we have taken great strides to make our communities safer, healthier 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. Working with members of the General Assembly, the Governor secured $10 million annually for the Strengthening Mental Health Initiative.  The initiative included:

*  Thirty-one new mental health liaisons in community mental health centers around the state;

*  New emergency room intervention teams in seven regions of the state, coordinating with 65 hospitals and health centers;

*  Expanding the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Family-to-Family and NAMI Basics programs with a special focus on families with youths and young adult children.

*  Expanding access to Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for law enforcement officers so that more are trained to intervene in mental health crises.

*  Expand Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to targeted groups that are likely to encounter people in mental health crises. Missouri now has more individuals trained in MHFA per capita than any other state in the country.

Of the top five states in terms of number of people who are MHFA-trained, Missouri leads on a per-capita basis:

MHFA Trained      Per Capita Trained

MO      27,730            0.46%

PA        53,757            0.42%

MI        31,131            0.32%

CA        61,359           0.16%

TX        40,545           0.15%


Gov. Nixon has also led the effort to rebuild Fulton State Mental Hospital, the oldest state psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi River, and replace it with a modern facility that is safer and more conducive to treatment.