Gov. Jay Nixon has developed a proposal to help more Missourians pursue careers in mental health care.
The governor announced details for his plan Wednesday during stops in Columbia and Kansas City. In the fiscal year 2015 budget, $20 million will be set aside in grants for mental health education programs.
Nixon said only 10 of Missouri's 114 counties have sufficient mental health professionals, according to the federal government's standards. Nixon hopes the investment will train 1,200 new mental health specialists for the state.
"It is a magnet for folks who have to pay what they have to pay for college to know that if they work hard and play by the rules and get their certification and degrees there are real jobs, back in their communities, here in the Show-Me-State," Nixon said.
The grant money in this plan would go toward colleges and universities to fund lab and training facilities, and set up internship programs for mental health at local hospitals. The University of Missouri in Columbia will be receiving $6,429,588, Truman State University will be receiving $520,524, and Moberly Area Community College will be receiving $167,283.
Nixon told higher education officials in October he would be proposing an initiative to train professionals in such fields as psychiatry, specialty nursing and applied behavioral analysis.
He said 72 of Missouri's 114 counties do not have a licensed psychiatrist, while 90 do not have a licensed behavioral analyst.