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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Governor Parson Names Valerie Huhn As New Department Of Mental Health Director

Valeri Huhn at Wednesday's Press Conference at the State Capitol.
Daria Lawson
Valeri Huhn at Wednesday's Press Conference at the State Capitol.

After a year of temporarily overseeing the Department of Mental Health, Valerie Huhn, will now serve officially in her role as the new director.

Gov. Parson made the announcement on Wed. Dec. 29th, in a press conference.

Huhn has served as the Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health since 2020 and has been a part of the DMH Senior Management Team since 2014.

Huhn also has a vast background in state government, beginning in 2000 as a Budget and Planning Analyst for the Office of Budget and Planning.

During the press conference on Wednesday, Huhn expressed her gratitude for the position, thanking Gov. Parson for his proposed pay increase for state staff.

Huhn said the department's current biggest focus is the mental health of the state’s workforce due to the pandemic.

“Delivery of support and treatment has been much harder over the last couple years,” said Huhn. “These people have given so much of themselves everyday and this is a great opportunity to show our appreciation and thanks, and we look forward to working with the governor's office to get that into place as quickly as possible.”

Huhn was selected as the next DMH Director by the Governor on Dec. 9.