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February 10, 2009

Mental health care in Missouri

As the editorial “Options dwindle for Missouri’s mentally ill” (2/1, Opinion) aptly explains, truly protecting the welfare of our fellow Missouri citizens requires access to mental health care.

Studies show that a combination of talk therapy and medication can be the most effective strategy for addressing some mental health conditions. Recognizing this, psychologists — who already are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders — view prescriptive authority as a key component of a holistic approach to care that provides the greatest variety of treatment choices.

Senate Bill 204, sponsored by Sen. Jack Goodman, and companion House Bill 536, sponsored by Rep. Bob Dixon, would ensure that patients have access to the safe, affordable, high quality care they need and deserve by creating a new classification for a highly trained doctoral level psychologist who can prescribe certain psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants. Eighty-five state representatives have co-signed this bill.

Psychologists aren’t looking to replace physicians or psychiatrists. In fact, psychologists who meet the stringent qualifications for prescription privileges would be required to maintain collaborative treatment relationships with medical colleagues.

This legislation will result in affordable comprehensive care for patients, with one provider combining appropriate psychotherapy and, if necessary, medication.

Renee Stucky
President, Missouri Psychological Association
Columbia, Mo.

I was disheartened when reading about the lack of resources for the severely mentally ill. I have bipolar disorder and have found it difficult to find resources beyond support groups and educational programs.

The support I have experienced for my mental illness pales in comparison to what I experienced after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was entitled to three professional massages. I was introduced to an amazing facility called Turning Point that offers a variety of services at no charge. Within days of having my name submitted to the American Cancer Society, a volunteer who had a cancer similar to mine came to my home with a bag full of information, including a pillow designed to fit under my arm after my mastectomy.

What would the world be like if the mentally ill were treated the same way as those with cancer?

Cathy Bogart
Kansas City


T. Hanson

Tisk, tisk, Marctnts...

Do you actually think that Bud, Buddy, MIA, Rogue to defend a position that could be over two sentences? Or even better, be factorial with details on where he got the facts other than "Rush told me so..."?


"And many health insurance companies will simply get out of the business as a result of this..."

How do you figure? Individual policies may be more costly to obtain if you have a history of mental problems or addictions (which is no different than weighting costs for a history of heart problems), but group policies will continue to offer coverage, albeit at a potential cost increase.


And many health insurance companies will simply get out of the business as a result of this...Oops!


Let's also not forget the Mental Health Parity Act which goes into effect January 1, 2010. It will require many health insurance companies to give equal benefits to both physican and mental illnesses. It's about time.

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