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Area Partners to Address Cost, Stigma of Mental Health Problems

Ozarks Counceling Center
Photo Credit: Ozarks Counseling Center

Ozarks Counseling Center and the Drury University Center for Nonprofit Communication will host a one-day event called "BrainStorming the Barriers: The SW Missouri Symposium on Improving Access to Mental Healthcare." As KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann explains, organizers want to dive deeper into how to break down the blockades to mental healthcare.

Across the nation, focus continues to be paid on the issues and negative repercussions of those with mental health problems. Local experts say they want to know more about what prevents people from getting the help they need, and how to put the necessary changes in place.  Andrea Bishop is the executive director for Ozark Counseling Center.
“Missouri State University’s clinical psychology department has done a research study on what those barriers to accessing mental health care actually are.  So those findings will be presented along with possible policy solutions that lawmakers may implement to try to help ease of those barriers for people,” says Bishop.
Two well-known barriers to mental health have been the cost of care and stigma it carries, Bishop explains. She says with the average cost for therapy ranging from $90 to $120 an hour, it can exceed many people’s budget.  Bishop adds that although more are beginning to accept the importance of addressing their problems, many are still are influenced by stigma. 
“What we’re really looking to do is to try to figure out what is preventing people from accessing mental health services.  We know this is an important topic right now; there are a lot of national news stories involving persons with mental health issues.  Just on a day-to-day level it is important here in our community,” Bishop says.
The symposium will be on Friday, November 8th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Drury University’s Findlay Student Center. It is open to both the public and mental health professionals, and registration is required.  Some topics will include a non-partisan session on the Affordable Care Act, integrated healthcare, trauma focused communities, and diagnostic changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, released this year.  You can find a link to more information below. 
For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.

Click here to learn more about he symposium or find registration information