Missouri to open children's trauma center after Joplin tornado

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 3:46 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri is opening a children's trauma center in Joplin to aid youth suffering from mental health issues following the devastating tornado.

Department of Mental Health Director Keith Schafer said the center is estimated to cost $2 million a year. It was not included in the state budget that Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law last week. However, Schafer said the state is committed to finding the money for the center.

State mental health officials said children can suffer from anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder after major disasters that disrupt their families and destroy their homes.

The mental health of adults is also of concern. Schafer said two-thirds of the area's acute-care psychiatric beds were lost when the tornado destroyed St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin.