Nixon promotes training for mental health jobs in Missouri - KCTV5

Nixon promotes training for mental health jobs in Missouri

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Gov. Jay Nixon has developed a proposal to help more Missourians pursue careers in mental health care. (Alan Shope/KCTV5) Gov. Jay Nixon has developed a proposal to help more Missourians pursue careers in mental health care. (Alan Shope/KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

Gov. Jay Nixon has developed a proposal to help more Missourians pursue careers in mental healthcare.

The governor announced details Wednesday during stops in Columbia and Kansas City.

Nixon said his 2015 budget proposal includes $20 million in incentives to help students interested in mental health to get more loans and help area colleges develop new mental health training programs. It will be spread around between several area colleges and universities. The University of Missouri-Kansas City will get nearly $5 million alone, all in efforts to help understand mental health issues.

Nixon said 72 of Missouri's 114 counties do not have a licensed psychiatrist, while 90 do not have a licensed behavioral analyst.

"We are facing a critical shortage of mental health professionals, a critical shortage. These numbers are startling - 104 of Missouri's 114 counties are designated as mental health professional shortage areas," he said.

He 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.

"We clearly saw that we just didn't have enough professionals to do the job," Nixon said.

The governor said after incidents around the country, like the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, and Tuesday's shooting at a Reno medical center, it is a wake-up call that the people need more mental healthcare training.

"We were all shaken on that day a little over a year ago when we saw yet another act of violence by an extremely troubled young fellow," Nixon said.

In the last four years, more than 1,500 new mental healthcare jobs have already been created in the state of Missouri. Nixon hopes this new push will add another 1,200 over the next few years.

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Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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