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      Mental health resources close to home

      Messages of faith and perseverance were spread across the walls of the mental health wing of St. Mary's hospital in Jefferson city. While it was quiet today, most of the time the floor is at full capacity.

      Though this in patient section of the hospital is voluntary, Dr. John Clemens, the medical director of the psychiatric unit told us that there are specific criteria that a person has to meet in order to stay overnight.

      He said, "Generally what we look for is suicidality, whether you're feeling suicidal, having a plan or a suicide attempt, or inability to function, that can be a criterion."

      Dr. Clemens also explained why St. Mary's is a unique option for those seeking help. He said that it focuses on community care, and family involvement since it is close to home for many patients rather than going to St. Louis or Kansas City. He also added that the hospital expanded from 16 to 24 beds, in order to better serve the mid-Missouri community.

      While each admitted person's diagnosis may be different, there are specialized activities and plans that benefit groups of patients as a whole.

      Following their stay, each person is presented with a special card indicating their national and county crisis hotlines if they should ever need assistance. Bracelets with the words "believe" and "strength" are given to patients to encourage them to believe that they can avert crisis as well as maintain the strength to be in control of the situation.