sad man holding his head down

Behavioral Health

Many Missourians have limited access to behavioral health providers and services.

Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration data indicate Missouri is below the national average for behavioral health providers.

Lacking access to behavioral health providers, patients in crisis commonly come to the emergency departments of acute-care hospitals. These hospitals are challenged to provide appropriate treatment and stabilization, post-discharge placement, and patient transportation. The growth in the number of these patients who come to hospitals is highest among Missouri’s Medicaid population, driven by high usage in Medicaid managed care plans.

Federal investment in behavioral health service expansion has helped reduce regional access disparities. However, much work remains to build a system that reaches all communities statewide.


If someone exhibits warning signs of suicide:

  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call:
    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
    • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
    • AgriStress Helpline: 833-897-2474
  • Take the person to an emergency room, or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
Behavioral Health Reports

Contact An Expert

Sarah Willson

Sarah Willson

Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1304

Shawn Billings

Shawn Billings

Vice President of Substance Use Programming

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1409

Missouri Statistics

  • Missouri is below the national average for behavioral health providers.
  • Missouri has 21.8% fewer psychiatrists and 13.6% fewer psychologists than the national average.
  • There are 50 counties that lack a psychiatrist and 65 counties that lack a psychologist.
  • Between 2008 and 2017, ED utilization for mental health-related disorders increased 212% for Medicaid managed care and 30% for Medicaid fee-for-service.
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