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St. Louis receives federal grant for mental health services

(NASA, Public Domain)

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – The city of St. Louis will receive $3.7 million over the next five years to improve mental health services in the city.

The federal grant will be used to provide housing for the mentally ill and offer intensive treatment programs the city currently cannot afford.

More importantly, according to St. Louis Mental Health Board executive director Don Cuvo, the city will be able to provide employment support to mentally ill people who often want to work.

"This would be helping them with job search, it would help them in adapting to the work environment, getting there on time, identifying bus routes to take to and from work," Cuvo said.

Jacqueline Lukitsch, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness -St. Louis, said that her organization will lobby federal and state governments to pick up the tab for the programs when the grant expires.

"When we don't have these programs in place, these people then often end up in jail and homeless and in other situations where you're going to pay more money," Lukitsch said.

St. Louis is one of 20 cities to receive the grant.