Mental Health Counseling Center Seeks Funds from County

Mental Health Counseling Center Seeks Funds from County

The Center - A Samaritan Center - is asking Buchanan County for money to help meet the growing demand.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Bud Salanski provides treatments and counseling for people with mental health problems at the Samaritan Center in St. Joseph.

In the past three years, he says the center has seen a 300 percent increase in the number of patients they see. And, he says, the funds are running low.

"The Center needs more money because we see more patients continually growing the number and particularly the number of those who need financial support," said Salanski.

That's why he met with Buchanan County Commissioners Thursday to come up a plan to allocate more money for The Center. He says The Center needs about $50,000.

"If we don't receive the funding then we can't see the people," added Salanski.

The majority of people treated at The Center are treated for depression and anxiety.

County commissioners say it's too soon to say if The Center will receive all of the money or not but say it's certainly a top priority.

"We have some reserve accounts in or budget we could tap into but it's early in the year, we got a long ways to go," said Dan Hausman, Eastern District Commissioner.

They all agree that providing access to care is in an important step in preventing other potential problems down the road. They say if people with mental challenges aren't treated, they could end up in other facilities or even behind bars. The National Institute of Health says more than half of inmates in local jails now have or have battled some type of mental illness.

"If we can treat them up front we're better off as a community," added Hausman.

If The Center doesn't receive help from the county, some patients could be turned away.

Commissioners hope to approve the money later this year.
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