The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 7, 2014

Keith Schafer, guest columnist: Fulton Hospital is state’s moral responsibility

— Fulton State Hospital, built in 1851, is the oldest state psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi River. For the past 163 years, Fulton Hospital has treated patients with serious mental illness who pose a threat to themselves and our communities.

In the past five years, the facility has taken in over 1,000 admissions from 99 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis. The staff at Fulton Hospital provides care for these patients and in turn keeps the rest of us safe.

As Missourians, we have a moral responsibility to these patients and their caregivers to provide the best possible environment — one that is safe, secure and conducive to healing

But today, the patient wards are old, deteriorating, dark and cramped with low ceilings and concrete cinderblock walls, ceiling and floors. They are exceedingly noisy, which creates significant problems for people with serious mental illness. This creates a dangerous environment for patients and staff. Support services buildings on campus are also a major problem. For example, the kitchen uses equipment left over from the Korean War.

It’s time to build a new Fulton Hospital to meet our moral obligation to the staff and patients within its walls and to ensure the safety of communities across our state.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health has done everything it can to move less dangerous patients to other state psychiatric hospitals and maximize existing space on the Fulton campus to house patients. But we have run out of options, and we are running out of time. We need a new Fulton Hospital, and we can’t afford to wait.

I strongly believe that a new high security facility is a critical investment for improving patient care for people with serious mental illness; for reducing serious employee injuries and turnover of our employees; for creating major economic opportunities for the region; and ultimately, for better protection and safety of all Missourians.

Keith Schafer is the director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Text Only
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Hate hurts us all

    Investigators say Sunday’s shooting of three people — two at a Jewish community center and another at a retirement complex in Overland Park, Kan. — were hate crimes.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Phill Brooks, columnist: Value of outside fiscal experts for government

    Missouri recently lost a man who had been one of the state’s tax leaders of decades past.

    April 15, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: State’s theatrics

    Conservatives in the Kansas Legislature have taken advantage of a serious problem — inequities in public school funding — to attack teachers and create new problems.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joan Banks, guest columnist: Right-to-work isn’t what’s right for Missouri

    Right-to-work legislation is up in the air right now in the Missouri Legislature.  Last week, the bill failed to get enough votes to advance to the Senate, but supporters are working to get those votes and move it forward.

    April 14, 2014

  • Our View: A hand across

    Have you ever needed $20 to help you get by until payday, a ride to work when your car wouldn’t start or someone responsible to watch your children for a few hours?
    Of course you have, and odds are you picked up the phone and there was someone on the other end willing to help.

    April 13, 2014

  • Carol Stark: So-called ‘justice’ system in need of another look

    Velma Crain has lived much of her adult life as an addict. The drug methamphetamine has robbed her of quality of life and her relationships with her family.
    The 48-year-old rural Joplin woman is now fighting a rare form of gynecological cancer. Her days are filled with chemotherapy treatments and pain.

    April 13, 2014

  • Your View: It takes a champion

    Our Missouri Southern State University men’s basketball Lions made a run for the gold, and how fortunate we the fans were this season to see those games unfold.

    April 11, 2014

  • Your View: So much for voting

    The following quote The Joplin Globe (April 9) was attributed to a member of the Young Professional Network: “It (Tuesday’s vote) is definitely not the end of what we’re trying to do.”

    April 11, 2014

  • Your View: Critical issues

    The people have spoken, loudly. The Joplin City Council, specifically the newest members, should bear in mind that they are not there for their agendas but rather to serve the people’s agenda.

    April 11, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Kansas petri dish

    It took less than an hour Sunday night for state representatives to agree to meet the minimum requirement to fund schools and in the process strip the rights of those who work there.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers