Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Two Appointees Added to Mental Health Board

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Two Appointees Added to Mental Health Board

Article excerpt

Two names have been added to the 10-member St. Charles County Community Mental Health Board of Trustees.

Appointed by County Executive Joe Ortwerth and approved by the County Council are Thomas W. Brown and Danny L. Hunter, both of St. Charles.

Reappointed to the board were Dr. Henry W. Clever Jr. of St. Charles, the board chairman, and Sue Schneider, who lives north of St. Peters.

The board was created by state law. Its members meet at least every other month to assess the needs for treatment of mental illness in the county and to plan for services for the mentally ill.

One of the board's most frustrating tasks has been an unsuccessful effort to persuade voters to support a tax for a mental-health fund.

In November 1992, voters rejected a proposal for a tax of 15 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation to support mental-health services.

The proposal received the approval of 42 percent of the voters. A majority was needed for passage.

Voters rejected similar proposals in three previous elections.

In 1985, a proposal for an 8-cent tax got the approval of 44 percent of the voters. Three years later, a 10-cent tax-rate proposal fared a little better with 47 percent approval.

Voter approval slipped to 41 percent in a third election in 1989.

After the 1992 election, cutbacks in services were made by Four County Mental Health Services Inc., now known as the Crider Center for Mental Health, which provides mental-health services in Lincoln, Warren, Franklin and St. Charles counties. Mental-health tax proposals were defeated that year in all four of the counties.

After that election, Clever was quoted as saying that voters needed to be educated about the needs of the mentally ill.

Karl Wilson, director of the Crider agency, said mental illness affected more families in St. Charles County than any other health problem. After the 1992 defeat, Wilson said that the public expected people to get health care when it is needed, "but mental-health care is neglected."

The agency used to get about 70 percent of its money from the Missouri Department of Mental Health, but state money has been cut back in recent years. …

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