Heartland organization brings mental and behavioral health services on wheels to those in need

Gibson Center for Behavioral Change provide services on the road.
Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A new tool is helping Heartland communities address mental health, an issue impacting more than a third of adults across Missouri.

According to research by the Keiser Family Foundation, 34.3 percent of adults in Missouri reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder in the first half of February, the most recent data available.

That’s two percent higher than the national average.

”We’re seeking to meet our patients where they’re at in their hometown,” said Nic Barna, director of Behavioral Health Services - Outpatient.

The Gibson Center for Behavioral Change is using a mobile treatment unit to provide services on site and in the community.

“Transportation is a huge barrier to treatment,” Barna added.

He said the unit provides full support and access to physicians and other services, including counseling, intakes, assessments and medication treatment.

It’s a resource that’s also helping law enforcement.

“Our sheriff’s department responds to mobile calls every day, and a lot of times some of the calls for service originate because of underlying either mental health or substance abuse issue,” said Perry County Sheriff Jason Klaus.

He said the unit is already making a difference.

“We’re kind of the first line to really identify that and we can make a referral to Gibson and/or let that individual know about the mobile treatment unit,” the sheriff explained.

Sheriff Klaus said having the unit here in the community is a big deal.

“There’s a transportation issue where a lot of people may not be able to access their business, so here they go to those individuals and to the smaller communities,” he continued.

Barna said they hope this new mobile unit will have a positive impact on the community.

“Breaking down the stigma of substance use treatment and then also availability,” he said. “Our hope is that we’re able to find as many services as possible through the mobile unit, and then also connecting patients with care patients with treatment.”

The next stop for the mobile treatment unit will be Tuesday, June 13 in Patton Missouri from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The mobile treatment unit will be in Perry County every Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. providing services to those who need it.