Rachel Farr Fitch Award
At the LWVMO Spring Conference in Columbia, the Rachel Farr Fitch Health Care Award was presented to the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri.
In the photo, left to right: Ann Elwell, Kelly Wood, Leslie Carrier, Lois Detrick
The Award recognizes their outstanding project on the Accessibility and Affordability of Mental Health Services in Greene County. In the course of two years beginning in May 2013, the LWV of SW MO conducted more than 20 informational activities and met with mental health care service providers, members of law enforcement, correctional and judicial systems, advocacy/support groups, local and state officials, and families of mental health patients. During the course of their study, they determined that, although a wide variety of services is available locally, funding is inadequate and the supply does not meet the demand. The Greene County jail is, by default, the largest mental health facility in Southwest Missouri. State funding continues to decrease.
The LWV-SWMO moved into the advocacy phase of the project in August 2015. They convened the Ozarks Mental Health Network. As a result of their study, they will continue to review solutions developed in other communities, and to develop relationships in the community. They agreed to: promote mental/behavioral health as a public policy issue on par with physical health and physical disabilities; advocate for increased accessibility and affordability of mental health care services for adults in Greene County with treatment based on need and not on the ability to pay; support efforts to divert mentally ill people from the Greene County jail and into appropriate mental health treatment; advocate for additional funding structures for mental health care; and encourage and work with other organizations seeking to promote accessibility and affordability of mental health services for all.