State By StateMissouri

Momentum has been growing in Missouri since the summer as Fred Friendly Seminar's outreach to conferences has been building. The director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health was introduced to MINDS ON THE EDGE at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Commissioners' Meeting in July and the Capitol Hill screening hosted by the Campaign for Mental Health Reform. His staff attended the SAMHSA Transformation Grant conference and reported on Missouri's plans to use MINDS for training.

The Missouri Mental Health Commission featured MINDS ON THE EDGE at its November 12, 2009 meeting. Keith Schafer, Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, introduced the program. After the screening, the group discussed issues that were exposed in the video and possible ways in which these scenarios would be played out in Missouri's Mental Health Services and Department of Mental Health.

Following this presentation the Missouri Department of Corrections Mental Health Services Director, Greg Markway requested DVDs and said: "I would like to make this mandatory viewing for corrections officers, caseworkers, probation and parole officers in our department. I am also interested in possibly sharing this with local law enforcement." Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation will show the DVD at their staff retreat.

Collaborating with the Missouri Mental Health Foundation, the Missouri Department of Mental Health subsequently has sponsored a series of dinner events called "Mental Health Matters" for small groups of state legislators. During these events the groups watched the MINDS ON THE EDGE DVD and then Keith Schafer, Director of the Department of Mental Health, facilitated discussions on specifics aspects of mental health services in Missouri.

According to Debra Walker, Executive Director of the Missouri Mental Health Foundation:
The DVD sparked thought provoking conversation and gave the legislators some insight into some of the struggles facing individuals and families dealing with mental illness. After these events, we provided each legislator in attendance a copy of the DVD to share with colleagues, friends and family.

Debra Walker makes the interesting point that there was a time in the Missouri Legislature, before term limits, when individual legislators became recognized for their special expertise in specific program areas like mental health. When issues arose and became topics of conversation or called for action in the Legislature, these individuals were often the "go to" leaders on which other legislators relied for better understanding and advice regarding appropriate action. She explains that in the years since term limits, it has been more difficult for legislators to have the time and experience to "specialize" in a given program area. She wrote, "We feel these events were productive and beneficial in providing our legislators a more sophisticated perspective of mental health issues. The MINDS ON THE EDGE DVD is an excellent tool and we thank you for the opportunity to share its powerful message."

  • In St. Louis, SSM Rehab at St. Mary's Health Center screened MINDS ON THE EDGE on December 1st and 2nd 2009 for their brain injury rehabilitation unit. The program will be used in an ongoing educational series for the center's staff during 2010.

  • Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse is including a screening and discussion of MINDS ON THE EDGE in their Spring Training Institute on May 20-21, 2010. The expected audience is 50-100.

  • In Joplin, the Central Christian Center is planning screenings of MINDS ON THE EDGE to be followed by discussions in community churches and para-church ministries as a part of "Caring for Your Congregation's Mental Health" campaign.