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New Joplin Trolley stop at Ozark Center’s Hope Spring

Reliable transportation provides access to mental health care . . . .

Healthcare is vital to those experiencing emotional challenges. But first . …. you have to get there.

A new Sunshine Lamp Trolley Stop at Ozark Center’s Hope Spring location offers critical access to mental health treatment, services and supports for those with mental illness.

“People struggling with mental illness and addiction are often at the mercy of public transportation to get to treatment, job interviews and jobs,” says Vicky Mieseler, Ozark Center Chief Administrative Officer.

“Having reliable, affordable transportation to and from appointments is a struggle in a lot of communities. Until now, the closest trolley stop was a long way from our Hope Spring facility and required traveling by foot on a very busy road. We are very grateful for the Sunshine Lamp Trolley and the City of Joplin. The addition of the new stop at our Hope Spring facility will ensure that more residents get access to the treatment they need.”

Hope Spring clients advocated for the stop by attending city meetings, which mental health experts say was a positive action in itself.

“It shows how becoming involved in civic activities results in positive outcomes for those who so often feel unheard and powerless,” says Del Camp, Ozark Center Chief Clinical Officer. “Aside from the obvious benefit of accessing much-needed services, participating in the process allowed clients to gain a sense of control and influence in their day-to-day lives. Research clearly demonstrates that rates of mental illness decrease as individuals experience more control over their environment.”

As a community care provider, Hope Spring often serves the underinsured and the poor, for whom lack of transportation can be a barrier to care. The new trolley stop shows the city’s commitment to recognizing that mental health disorders are an aspect of the overall health of Joplin citizens and works to destigmatize seeking mental healthcare in the area.

People with mental health and addiction issues often have more frequent appointments than is typically thought of in medical care. Transportation is critical to the continuity of care and therapists say the transportation empowers patients to get to both appointments and to pick up prescriptions.

“Access to transportation is particularly important for people with mental illness or addiction issues,” Mieseler says, “It promotes productive lifestyles, independence, and better treatment outcomes.”

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