On July 15, a ceremonial signing establishing the Northwest Missouri Cooperative Mental Health Board of Trustees inter-county agreement was held at Northwest Missouri State University.

County leadership from Gentry, Holt, Nodaway and Holt are participating in the agreement.

Chair of the 4th Judicial Circuit Leadership Team on Mental Health and Criminal Justice, Nodaway County Associate Circuit Judge Bob Rice gave the opening remarks of the event. Rice was essential in bringing the counties together to create the board.

This type of board exists in the larger population areas of Missouri, but according to Rice, “This is the first in the state to include multiple rural counties collaborating and cooperating with each other to promote, procure and pursue funds for mental health services in Northwest Missouri.”

The 4th Circuit Leadership Team on Mental Health and Criminal Justice was created in 2020 by Presiding Judge Roger Prokes. The team discovered many challenges and gaps in services throughout the area. The team then began creating the mental health board in order to address comprehensive mental health services. According to Rice, the board will accomplish that objective by providing funding to mental health providers, public health facilities and will serve as an advocate for mental health initiatives. The board will also provide a forum for discussion and resolution of mental health-related concerns, while also encouraging feedback from the public.

Interim President of Northwest Missouri State University, Dr. Clarence Green gave remarks alongside 4th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Corey Herron and Mosaic Medical Center-Albany Administrator Dr. Katie Dias. Representatives from all four counties spoke and then signed the ceremonial agreement into place.

The board will consist of 11 members, two from Gentry, two from Holt, six from Nodaway and one from Worth Counties. The initial board members will have staggered terms that last three years. The members will not be paid and no one will serve on the board if their employer receives funds from the board. The board will meet either monthly or quarterly.

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