Western Missouri Mental Health Center

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Western Missouri Mental Health Center
Opened 1954
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Location Kansas City, MO
Alternate Names
  • Psychiatric Receiving Center
  • Center for Behavioral Medicine (Current)


The history of CBM/WMMHC dates back to 1954 when the greater Kansas City Mental Health Foundation opened the Psychiatric Receiving Center. The PRC was the first racially integrated psychiatric facility in Kansas City. Its purpose was to provide mental health services to indigent Kansas City residents in their community. Serving as the psychiatric section of the city’s General Hospital system, the PRC was one of the pioneers in community mental health using the new psychotropic drugs and treatment therapies. It was the recipient of the Gold Medal Award of the American Psychiatric Association. Its two inpatient wards, an admissions unit and a discharge unit, emphasized community oriented treatment and its outpatient program maintained patients while they continued to function in their community.

In May of 1963, the Kansas City General Hospital and Medical Center took over the administration of the PRC with the foundation remaining in an advisory role and moving into new areas of mental health research and programming.

In 1963, the Missouri Legislature upgraded the State’s psychiatric services by authorizing the Division of Mental Diseases (Now the Department of Mental Health) to develop three intensive treatment centers across the state. In addition to WM in Kansas City, Malcolm Bliss Mental Health Center in St. Louis and Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center in Columbia were set up to work with established programs in their respective areas.

General Hospital #2, formerly for African American patients, was purchased from the city, remodeled and enlarged. Directly adjacent to the PRC WM opened on March 11, 1966, and the two facilities worked together to continue and expand services to the indigent and extended these services to the residents of the 31 western counties of Missouri. A total assimilation of the Psychiatric Receiving Center by DMH was March 1, 1970.

The Center also maintains close relationships with a wide array of community agencies that assist persons suffering from mental illness or other psychiatric conditions.

The new facility was designed to replace the existing Western Missouri Mental Health Center, encompassing the Center, East, West, South and Old KC Regional Annex Buildings, all of which has been negatively impacted by the proposed widening of 22nd Street in Kansas City. The new construction allowed for an integrated facility, and provides easy access and parking. It is occupied primarily by the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services, with some space allotted to the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. There was originally a total of 115 beds, including 12 beds in Emergency Services and 15 beds to serve the adolescent population.

This new (approximately 230,000 sf) multi-story acute care psychiatric hospital building comprises five wards with private courtyards, outdoor recreation areas, a combination gymnasium/multi-purpose room, a full service kitchen and dining room, a main "mall" or circulation corridor with access to patient occupational activity areas, a library, and the hospital clinic. The building was originally designed to house a forensic unit and a methadone clinic, each strategically isolated from one another and the main facility. Major site construction will include extensive grading and drainage, retaining walls, drilled pier foundations, new and relocated utilities, and driveway and parking lot pavements.