Sen. Blunt plans mental health tour in Missouri

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 | 1:30 p.m. CDT; updated 5:55 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 21, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt plans to emphasize mental health issues while traveling across Missouri next week. His trip will include a stop in Columbia.

Blunt plans to visit nine hospitals and behavioral health centers, including the Veterans Affairs medical center in St. Louis.

The Republican senator recently teamed up with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill on a letter to the Veterans Affairs secretary seeking information on mental health care at the St. Louis facility. That came after the hospital's former chief of psychiatry filed a federal whistleblower complaint saying he was demoted for raising concerns that patients were experiencing long waits for care because of light workloads by psychiatrists.

In addition to Columbia and St. Louis, Blunt's mental health tour includes stops in Hannibal, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Joplin, Kirksville, St. Joseph and Kansas City.

May is mental health awareness month.

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