Nixon addresses rally for mental health

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon appeared before a crowded rally today to talk about the importance of funding mental health services in the state. Nixon touted his own record of increasing mental health services and derided Republicans in the House for removing funds from the budget aimed at helping rebuild the dilapidated Fulton State Mental Hospital.

“The House Budget Committee’s vote to strip funding, for this long-overdue public safety priority, from the supplemental budget puts patients and caregivers at risk,” Nixon said. “Without these resources in the budget, we will be unable to move forward with the planning and design process for this urgent project. I urge the members of the House and Senate to right this wrong and put the health and safety of our communities first.”

Nixon called on the crowd, mostly mental health advocates and their patients, to tell their lawmakers about the need for a new state hospital, which he said is an “emergency.”

The facility, built in 1851 and predating the Civil War, has been on the legislative docket for a major rebuild for nearly a decade, but the financial crisis and an increasingly conservative legislature has kept the funds from being allocated.

“Our credit rating is high, interest rates are low and Missouri is growing,” Nixon said. “Now is the time to take on this project. I challenge anyone who has seen that facility to say it is not an emergency.”

Since 2007, FSMH has had more than 1,000 admissions from 99 counties across the state, and it is currently the state’s only maximum-security mental health facility.