signing ceremony missouri western

Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy, Missouri Western’s president, and Kris Hannon, co-CEO of Family Guidance Center, sign a memorandum of understanding Sept. 29.

Sept. 29, 2021–Missouri Western State University and Family Guidance Center for Behavioral Healthcare are partnering to expand access to mental health care for Missouri Western students. Under a memorandum of understanding signed today, Family Guidance Center will assign a qualified mental health professional to the university Counseling Center full time.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our students is every bit as important as their physical health, now more than ever,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy, Missouri Western’s president. “Our Counseling Center does amazing work in meeting the needs of our students, and I’m very grateful to the Family Guidance Center for allowing us to expand their reach at no cost to the university.”

FGC is very pleased to be able to form a partnership with MWSU to provide an additional resource to address the behavioral health needs of students,” said Kristina Hannon, co-CEO of Family Guidance Center. “We have seen the need for behavioral health services increase locally over the last few years. Partnering with MWSU allows FGC to serve as a resource to the student population to ensure prompt access to behavioral healthcare services. MWSU is a tremendous resource for our community. This partnership allows FGC to give back to a University who has done so much to provide a well educated workforce for behavioral health providers across our region.

The Counseling Center helps students with problems, both academic and personal, that might interfere with their educational pursuits. The Family Guidance Center clinician assigned to work at the university will provide assessment, brief intervention, evidence-based therapy, supportive therapy, referral to external providers with signed consent, crisis intervention, training related to behavioral health concepts, counseling for substance abuse disorders and case management services as necessary. 

“This will be a great help to us in the Counseling Center, and a tremendous benefit to our students,” said Katie Jeffers, Missouri Western’s director of counseling. “We pride ourselves on providing this free service for our students, which involves very little wait time for an appointment. With Family Guidance Center providing us with a clinician, we can continue to meet our students where they are, without having to increase the time it takes for them to see a clinician.”

In addition to the full-time clinician, Family Guidance Center will make a psychiatric provider available as needed for medication management. 

The partnership was the idea of Dr. Greg Lindsteadt, professor of criminal justice and Faculty Senate president who is also on the Family Guidance Center Board of Directors. 

The signing ceremony was held in conjunction with a suicide awareness event during National Suicide Prevention Month.

About Missouri Western: Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit

About Family Guidance Center: Family Guidance Center helps individuals and families lead healthier, more productive lives by providing an array of behavioral health and social and health services. Since 1907, Family Guidance has provided key resources and behavioral health services to the Northwest Missouri region, reaching out to provide help and support to thousands of families living with behavioral health conditions.