Over the past year, Pike County Memorial hospital conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment.
The purpose of the project was to identify, prioritize, and build plans to address the community’s most pressing health needs. Lack of mental health services in the area was clearly identified as a priority need.
Missouri health data estimates that 19.1 percent of Missouri residents ages 18-25 and 12 percent of those age 26 and over have had serious psychological distress in a year’s time.
In addition, 11 percent of Pike County students (grades 6 through 12) reported they had considered suicide in the past year, 6.6 percent had made a plan, and 2.3 percent had actually attempted suicide. It was also noted in the process, that mental health services in Pike County were very limited.
In an effort to address the need for mental health services, PCMH clinics (Eastern Missouri Health Services) applied for and were awarded a $100,000 PRIMO grant to facilitate the offering of telepsychiatry services in Pike County.
PRIMO, Primary Care Resource Initiative for Missouri, is a program of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The EMHS clinics which are operated by Pike County Memorial Hospital have become a member of the Missouri Telehealth Network operated by the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
The grant funding has enabled Eastern Missouri Health Services to purchase telehealth equipment for both clinic sites and will fund personnel for the program during the first year.
Psychiatric services will be provided via telehealth by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist depending on the needs of the patient. EMHS Director Tami Schneidler estimates that the mental health services will be up and running by the end of October.
“Mental Health services in our area are very limited,” Schneider said. “We look forward to being able to expand available mental health options to our community.”