Kansas Mental
Health Coalition


  • June 03, 2014 9:44 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    One in four adults suffers some measure of mental illness each year, so Kansas Citians who’ve been affected by mental illnesses urge us all to open up. Suicide, which kills more people annually than murder, stands as the third-leading of cause of death for young people ages 18 to 24.

    Click here to read the full article at kansascity.com.

    One in four adults suffers some measure of mental illness each year, so Kansas Citians who’ve been affected by mental illnesses urge us all to open up. Suicide, which kills more people annually than murder, stands as the third-leading of cause of death for young people ages 18 to 24.

  • May 27, 2014 11:53 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Governor Sam Brownback, flanked by cabinet secretaries and advocates from across the state, today announced his administration’s plans to continue strengthening the delivery of mental health services in the State of Kansas.

    “I remain committed to strengthening and expanding access to timely, quality mental services and improving outcomes for all Kansans,” Governor Brownback said. “This is one of the priority initiatives of my administration, and we have taken some significant steps forward. We are making direct investments in ways we believe will pull the state together to address this challenge. I have asked all of the state agencies to become actively involved in coordinating their efforts.”

    The Governor outlined specific projects the state is launching to address the behavioral health needs of individuals, families and communities. Those include:

    • Creating a Behavioral Health Subcabinet composed of agency representatives from the Department of Health and Environment, Department of Children and Families, Department of Education, Department of Corrections, Department for Aging and Disability Services, and the National Guard, which will work to identify common outcomes, coordinate data systems, and look at cost related matters. The Subcabinet will oversee the preparation of a comprehensive review of behavioral health care costs and examination of how funding is allocated throughout the system. 
    • Appointing a Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Advisory Council, consisting of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary Ray Roberts, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, and Topeka Policy Department Captain Bill Cochran, which will serve in an advisory capacity to review community grant applications for $500,000 in community grants, funded through the Governor’s budget amendment, that will help keep individuals in the community and out of jail, prisons and state hospitals. Possible grant projects include Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health Courts, Jail diversion programs, and education for front-line responders. The advisory council will also help advise the Governor’s Behavioral Health Planning Council as they work to prioritize and implement law enforcement- and corrections-specific recommendations made by the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force Report.
    • Targeting substance use, which plays a significant role in exacerbating the mental health situation confronting families and institutions in Kansas; Substance abuse destroys lives and affects families, law enforcement, corrections – and ultimately our economic well-being in terms of lost productivity
    • Building and enhancing community supports through identifying at-risk communities around the state and helping them create programs that address their specific behavioral health needs. This will include $10,000 for a data project to identify the most at-risk communities in the state and $140,000 to help support 12-15 high-risk Kansas communities.
    • Increasing investment in family-strengthening programs by establishing prevention, education and family-support projects in communities across the state to help families with members who are experiencing behavioral health challenges using $7 million in TANF funding.

    And that the state will invest additional resources in existing current infrastructure, including:

    • $500,000 for Substance Use Disorder treatment beds that will allow the state to open 81 additional beds funded through the Governor’s Budget Amendment
    • $1 million in one-time money to be used for Community Mental Health Centers to strengthen their ability to provide treatment to individuals without health insurance 

    “To this point we have concentrating on building our infrastructure. Now we are beginning to invest in specific programs. What we are doing fits into the Mental Health Task Force’s model of investing at each level – individual, family, community, state – that can impact mental health in Kansas,” Governor Brownback said.

  • May 07, 2014 3:23 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Kansas has prepared the FFY 2014 Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program application that will be submitted to the US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance on June 2, 2014.  The Kansas Statewide Strategic Plan for FY 2015-2018 will accompany the federal application.  These documents are pending final approval by the Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.  The application and state strategy are currently available for public comment through May 23, 2014 at https://governor.ks.gov/serving-kansans/grants-program/grant_opportunities/edward-j-byrne-memorial-justice-assistance-grant.

    Amy Kramer, Grant Analyst

    Governor's Grants Program

    Landon State Office Building, Rm 304North

    900 SW Jackson Street

    Topeka, KS  66612

    Voice: 785.291.3205

    Fax:  785.291.3204



    "Creating S.A.F.E. Communities"

  • May 06, 2014 11:07 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council will feature an in-depth children's issues meeting this Friday, May 9, in Topeka from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The Council will hear from Laura Howard, SAMHSA; Jo Budler, Kansas State Librarian; as well as experts from the fields of education and housing.  Click here for the agenda.

    The meeting will also include insight from six Kansans who will talk about Youth Success and what it means for the youth and the family.  These individuals have experienced mental health issues and used mental health services.  

    The meeting will be held at the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation KPERS Building, 611 S. Kansas Avenue, Suite 300, Topeka, KS.  

  • May 02, 2014 11:38 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Senate passed the last budget bill of 2014 today - Senate Sub for HB 2231 on a vote of 22-18.  Click here for the Conference Committee Explanation and click here for the three column comparison of House/Senate budget items.  Finally, this is the overall budget profile, including the prior budget bills passed this session for education and the judiciary.  Remember, these documents are showing changes to the Governors Recommended Budget.

    The bill does include the consensus caseloads adjustments, provisions for shifting funds in KDADS for the Rainbow Alternative Project and the Governor’s Budget Amendments for mental health, substance abuse treatment, and reducing HCBS waiting lists.  The conference committee also added a one time $250 payment to state employees.

    The budget bill will have to be voted on by the House of Representatives this afternoon.  There are still multiple conference committee reports and other issues pending for action today – including tax policy – but leaders are hoping to adjourn the session today.  Technically, they still have another 7 days allotted for the 2014 session if they need them.

    Here are notes from the Senate debate -

    HB 2231 – 2014 Budget

    Senator Ty Masterson, Ways and Means Committee Chair – This is what is left of the state budget – could call it the leftover items that have not already been addressed – the rats and cats.  We have already passed a budget bill for Judiciary and one for Education.

    This is the remaining budget. The runs do not include the reduced revenues in April. 

    The Conference Committee did agree to a $250 one-time bonus this year. It is all state employees, not only classified. It does not include elected officials. 

    It looks like we took $15 million out of Commerce, but it just reflects the $5 million to each university.

    Changed transfer to Bioscience Authority from $27 m to $32 m.  Took the $5 m from the KEY fund (tobacco dollars).  We had an increase in receipts from tobacco dollars in consensus report of around $7 m.

    Senator Kelly -  distributed of the projections for reduced revenues that are not currently a part of the consensus revenues.  “Reality of our budget situation”. 

    Started FY 13 with $709 m in our ending balance.  By the end of FY 15, will have blown through that.  We are not dealing with the reality of the decreases in revenues.  This is budgeting with blinders on.  No one wants to deal with the elephant in the room.  Even though we have made significant cuts in programs already, we should be looking at more cuts in each fiscal year just to avoid deficit budgeting:  Would need to cut $48.4 m in 14; $277 m in 15; For 16, we would need to cut another$ 193 m to come to 0 balance.  For FY 17 - $77 m; FY 18 - $38.2 m; and FY 19 - $181 m.

    Just to come to zero.  When you add those figures up, that comes to $1.26 billion in cuts that we would need to make just to come to zero balances.  I know that it is an election year and no one wants to make cuts that would be necessary and no one wants to raise the taxes that would be necessary.  In reality, we will have to face this.  That is the main reason I didn’t sign this conference report.  There are also some very specific items that I oppose.

    When we raised the transfer to the Bioscience Authority, we took it out of the mouths of babes – we took it from the Children’s Initiatives Funds.  It is not like we are over budgeting in that area.  We have lots of needs in children’s programs and that is where that money should be spent if we are going to spend it.

    The $250 December payment to state employees is a one time payment and does nothing to elevate the pay scale of our state employees. 

    The use of one time funds to balance our budget has become the norm.  We are spending ½ billion over the two years to fund schools transportation, for mental health grants – what is that about?  We are using gaming money.  We built into the gaming statute to use the money for debt service, infrastructure, and property tax relief.  What are we using it for?  Teacher pension fund contribution.  Not to pay down the unfunded liability, but just the base contribution. 

    Those are some of the reasons and there are a lot more reasons.  When the $90 million hit was announced this week, we should have gotten together to reboot and address the issue.  We didn’t’ do that.

    Senator Hawk – I have concerns about higher education.  Kansas has cut 22.8% to higher ed in the past few years.  Most states have now started increasing funding again.  Only 8 states are still cutting.  Our neighboring states have increased funding.  Tuitions are being pushed up.  Only 7 states increased tuition over ____,  Kansas is one of them.  It makes college less affordable and less accessible for our lower income students.  There has been no restoration of the 1.5% cut across the board.  We only restored ½ of the salary cuts.  Our employees felt the need to move to unclassified employee status, and that has cost Emporia State and Wichita State the funding for longevity bonuses.

    I came here because I care about doing the right thing in the present.  I also care about doing the right thing in the future.  The Georgetown Center says that by 2020, over 60% of all jobs will require college education.  They project that without significant investment in higher education, our system will not keep up with the commercial demand for educated employees.

    Senator Haley- talked about concerns with pay issues for Judiciary – information from local Court administrator.  Are we going to be going back to furlough days and courts being unable to be open five days a week? 

    A:  Refer to HB 2338 which we already passed to fund the Judiciary Budget.  This bill includes a provision to clarify the fees that remain with the Judiciary.

    Haley – the concerns that have been expressed to me were since the passage of HB 2338.  Is there anything in this budget that might improve the budget condition for the Judiciary?

    A:  There was no further action that needed to be taken to but adding the $8.2 million to prevent any furloughs.  The only clarification that was needed was the language that is included in this bill about the fees.

    Senator Francisco – Kansas Water Office – reducing payments for the John Redmond Reservoir dredging project?

    A;  Simply an adjustment to what was necessary for those bond payments.

    Francisco – moving $50,000 from State Water Plan – coming from stream bank stabilization?


    We know that dredging is very expensive.  But I think this is a very necessary.  My concern is that stream bank stabilization is what we hope will help reduce the silt going into our reservoirs.  We are not looking at long term use of these funds.

    Talked about meeting with conference committee on SB 84 – which wants to repeal renewable portfolio standards.  The motivation is to reduce utility bills.  I have attended conferences in Manhattan and ______.   A quote from Tracy Streeter regarding the Neosho water basin, cost of shutting down the grid every time they have to shut down Wolf Creek for technical problems relating to water system – costs every utility customer $_____.   This is very expensive.  I oppose taking any money from our stream bank stabilization projects. 

    Money to address deferred maintenance projects from our universities, KS Historical Society – could be using gaming funds for our infrastructure. 

    I would suggest that we could also be using our transportation funds for highways and for rail.  We have needs in these areas, but we are using the funds for base budgeting.

    Senator Holland – talk about something near and dear to my heart – Kansas tax policy.  Talked about the administration paying Dr. Art Laffer to come and talk to us about how to improve our state budget by changing state tax policy – had a book called “Eureka – how to solve California’s problems”.  Also had Dr. Art Hall who  came and talk to us about cutting Kansas marginal income tax to improve the Kansas economy.  Unfortunately, we have basically shot craps in our Kansas economic policy. 

    Six state region – economic indicators.  Showed that Kansas lags in the primary economic indicators for growth.  Employment, per capita income, creation of business, more..  This is data brought forward by the Governor’s own Economic Policy Council.  I give credit to our legislative committees and their work, but they have been dealt a very difficult hand.  Our whole system is built on a house of cards.  If we were really trying to build up our small businesses, then why are we giving the same benefits to the huge multi-million dollar companies.  And then when we have to try to balance the books on this policy, why are we actually taxing businesses on their losses?  What are we really doing to the small businesses we are trying to encourage when we know they are going to

    What about our PEAK program?  When we talk about giving these businesses benefits based on their employee income taxes, if that is where we are trying to encourage this glide path to zero?  Our tax policies are inconsistent and as we pursue our state level goals, we are

    If you want to buy into supply side theory, it doesn’t work.  If you want to redistribute income in this state, this is your ticket.  If you want to cut programs in this state, this is your ticket.

    The grand experiment has failed, the rat has died.  Rigor mortis has set in.  Now, we aren’t going to deal with this until next January.  That cage is really going to stink by then.  The sooner we start making changes to our tax code to provide a more stable revenue picture for this state, and to provide a more stable outlook for our citizens,

    Senator Pettey – cited Moody’s downgrade to Kansas bond rating – came out yesterday.  Downgraded Kansas highway revenue bonds because we are shifting transportation funds to underwrite other areas of the state budget.  More…

    This will put us below the national ratings.  Could be improved if we increased our funding of our pension obligations and our bond obligations.  Our budget is not doing that.

    The April shortfall means that we will need to collect $800 to $900 million in the remaining months of the year to meet our projected revenues for the current fiscal year.  Fiscal staff indicates that we may end the year $200 million below estimates.  These drops have been made steeper due to our income tax reductions – our decline in income tax withholding is due to the reduction in income tax rates that are more beneficial to higher income Kansans and place more tax burden on lower income Kansans.  More…

    Cited Duane Goossen quote on Moody’s downgrade.  Cited Masterson quote – saying this downgrade should have little effect on our bond health.

    A well respected and informed entity has just given us a low grade.  That should be a concern to us.  I encourage us to consider how we are going to deal with next year’s budget.

    Senator Francisco – home inspector’s funds – fees will be collected but won’t go to real estate commission, would go to the Kansas association of real estate inspectors. 

    Masterson – went with the House position on this.  For the purposes of the private association self-regulating the home inspectors. 

    Francisco – is it true that we received information that the real estate commission has notified us that they will be short of funds and that we have not passed the bill that would allow them to self-fund? 

    Masteron – I agree that the bill has not passed and that we, as a Senate, did support that bill to allow the fee increases to deal with that.  This was a House position and they held very strongly to it, that is one area where we gave in to the House position. 

    Francisco – this is an area where we are  not allowing the Real Estate Commission to collect the moneys they need to regulate.  I think it is inappropriate to send the moneys to a private organization with no state obligations or ties.

    Senator Hensley – in the interest of full disclosure, I am the last speaker on our side.  I think our members have made some very good points.  Would call to your attention the graph that Senator Kelly passed out looking at the state general fund profile in the out years.  Looks like we will have enough money to fund this budget at least for this fiscal year, but does

    I have a copy of a handout that the Governor provided to a group of lobbyists regarding the state general fund profiles – regarding projecting ending balances.  It basically states that projecting ending balances more than one year out is very difficult to do with any accuracy.  The handout goes from 2012 to FY 15.  Interesting to note that it doesn’t go beyond 2015.  Goes back over the projected deficit.

    We need to face reality – we are a small Midwestern state.  Quoted the Governor saying – look out Texas, here comes Kansas.   Why would we want to emulate Texas – it is a much larger state with much more resources.  Talked about the study done by a blue ribbon commission that reviewed the Kansas tax policy, equating it to a three legged stool   Indicating that the three legs should be as close to parity as possible = income tax / sales tax / property tax.  Staff says we reached near parity about ten years ago.  In reality, this is a self-inflicted budget crisis that we have imposed on ourselves.  And we have heard evidence today that these tax cuts are not leading us out of our economic situation by creating jobs or new businesses.  And what we have done has increased the burden to low income Kansans by eliminating our

    When we started this session, I offered an amendment to reinstate the renter’s homestead exemption, but the answer to why that amendment was rejected was because we couldn’t afford it.  “we can’t afford it” – we are going to hear that a lot.  We in this chamber are going to be around for another two years and we are going to be hearing that a lot. 

    To think that this trickle down economic theory is going to a boon to Kansas as espoused by Dr. Laffer and Dr. Hall and others by bringing us additional jobs and growth – I don’t see it.  If you are interested in the overall health of Kansas budgets as I am, I would ask you to vote against this budget.  There are some good things in this budget, but it doesn’t do the job overall.

    Senator McGinn – clarify a question regarding leadership day pay – five or six years ago, leadership day pay was limited.  That is now over, it is wide open.  I only want to share it because I remember that four or five years ago, it was a big issue and I don’t understand why it isn’t an issue any more.  There are several senators who were here then who thought it was a big issue then , but maybe it isn’t important any more.

    At the beginning of April, the Senate passed an amendment that stated - No state agency named in 2013 session laws of Kansas or any school district shall expend any money for implementing common core standards unless Kansas Legislature expressly allows it (not actual language).  Make no mistake, a vote for this budget is a vote permitting / giving consent for further implementation of common core.  There are many reasons to vote no and many reasons to vote yes on this budget.  Have many reasons to vote no.  I will be voting no.

    Masterson – I haven’t had to work too hard carrying the budget today, mostly just listened.

    Disagree that this is a vote on common core.  That is a different issue and it has had its opportunity for consideration. 

    Our role in this chamber is to find consensus – find the votes we can agree on.  Funny to have the comments from the same group that includes protests for blowing through money and also that we didn’t spend enough.  And the protests that we “steal” money – we are transferring money directly to those budgets from sales taxes and other revenues that should be coming to us from the beginning and then budgeted from us.  Criticized the protests on ending balances and shifting of funds, when those practices were used in prior budget processes.

    This ending balance is solid, this budget is balanced.  We have issues to deal with next year.  We can’t go below zero – we must deal with it and we will.  I’m not saying we don’t have issues – but we will deal with it.  This chamber and the other has reasonable people in it, and we will deal with those issues.

    22 yes – 18 no

    Hensley explanation of vote.

    Pyle explanation of vote.

    Baumgardner – new senator – appreciate work on the budget.  Concerned about $200 million number.  Also, when we have a budget that pays amounts such as $76 to individuals, I cannot support that.

    Fitzgerald – explanation of vote – appreciate the work on the budget, appreciate the funding for Corrections, but must vote no.  We are still spending too much money – taking money from private citizens and spending it on government. 

    Appointment of David Dillon before we leave town – need to remember.

    Caucus at 1:30 p.m. – come back to vote on remaining items at 3:00 p.m.  Will then check on House status and wait for more conference reports.

  • May 01, 2014 2:05 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)
    At 3 p.m. on Thursday, the budget conference committee is still negotiating the final eight items or so.  At this stage of the game, the Governor's Budget Amendment is included - containing additional funding for substance abuse treatment ($500,000), mental health institutional diversion ($500,000), and reducing HCBS waiting lists ($4 m plus federal funds).  It also includes the language needed to allow KDADS to move forward with the Rainbow Alternative Project and adjustments in consensus caseloads.

    This is good news, considering yesterday's news report that Kansas April revenue receipts were far short of predictions and could have resulted in some reactive budget cutting today.  Read the Capital Journal story at Kansas Revenue falls 92m 

  • May 01, 2014 12:39 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)
    When the Legislature convened for Veto Session on Wednesday, April 30, the Appropriations Committee wasted no time in creating a budget bill.  The committee adopted the consensus caseloads, adopted the Governor's Budget Amendments (GBAs), adopted some of the omnibus funding items associated with legislation that has already passed the Legislature, dumped the contents into a Senate bill and adjourned.  

    The normal legislative process would have led to staff cranking out multiple pages of statistics, combined costs, and ending balances.  Then, perhaps by Friday, the full House would consider the budget bill.  But this is certainly not a year for normal legislative process.  There has been no further action to create a House budget bill - instead, House conferees moved directly into negotiating with the Senate over the Senate's budget bill.

    Senate Ways and Means had already adopted the consensus caseloads over the legislative break.  Also, the Senate had already passed a "mega-budget bill" during the regular session under a House bill number, so it was ready for conference committee.  Typically, SWM would meet again to create an omnibus budget bill.  Not this year.

    Surprisingly, the Committee leadership began conferencing on the Senate mega-budget bill and began adopting various new provisions as a part of that conference committee report.  (It had been rumored that the House might enter budget negotiations without passing their own budget bill - but few were betting on it.)

    This could put the Legislature in the amazing position of being able to pass a budget bill and possibly adjourn by late Friday or Saturday.  By meeting until around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the conference committee was able to pare down their list of "items of disagreement" from more than 130 to less than 10.  The conference committee has met several times on Thursday, and the House just adopted an "agree to disagree" motion which will allow the conference committee report to come back to the floor with only four signatures of the six conferees.  

    There are other issues pending before the Legislature, but none are absolutely necessary to accomplish before adjourning.  Even though the Legislature has ten days set aside for its veto session this year, it is apparent that the leadership hopes to wrap this up as soon as possible.  So, if any of the major tax proposals, anti-common core bills, or anti-renewable portfolio standards bills are to pass this session, they need to pass conference committees or find other legislative vehicles... soon.  
  • April 25, 2014 4:34 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)
    Governor Brownback held a press conference this afternoon in Lenexa to announce a GBA (Governor's Budget Amendment) proposal asking the Legislature to commit an additional $5 million state general funds to social services.  The proposal commits most of the spending to reducing PD and DD waiting lists.  It would also draw down additional federal dollars for this purpose.

    $1 million is targeted to mental health and substance abuse treatment.  As reported by KHI News Service, "The governor said he also will ask the Legislature for $500,000 to "beef up" substance use disorder treatment for the uninsured.  If approved, officials said that would fund 81 inpatient beds.  He also will ask for $500,000 to expand state hospital and corrections system mental health diversion programs to strengthen crisis services, law enforcement training and prevention programs."

    This is yet another step toward addressing some of the issues brought forward by the Governor's Mental Health Task Force Report.  Read the report.

    The Kansas Mental Health Coalition is supportive of these budget amendments and looks forward to lending its support to further actions by KDADS and other state agencies to implement the task force recommendations.

    Read the full KHI article containing much more detail about the waiting lists as reported by Mike Shields here.

  • April 24, 2014 4:40 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Panel: Jails can't be 'dumping ground' in a mental health crisis

    Panelists discuss warrantless apprehension of people in mental health crisis


    Audience members listen Thursday as panelists speak about warrantless apprehension of people in a mental health crisis.

    By Ann Marie Bush

    Mental health advocates, law enforcement officers and hospital representatives spent two hours Thursday discussing warrantless apprehension of people who are in a mental health crisis.

    About 40 people, including officers from the Topeka Police Department, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence, Sedgwick County and Kansas City, Kan., gathered in a training room at the Law Enforcement Center from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. for the first Topeka/Shawnee County Crisis Intervention Team roundtable discussion.

    “I’m pleased,” said Topeka police Capt. Bill Cochran, who helped organized the event. “We had great panelists.”

    Often, jails and hospitals become a “dumping ground” for people who need mental health care, Cochran said. CIT plans to host future roundtables to discuss other mental health issues, he said.

    Panelists for Thursday’s presentation included Rick Cagen, executive director of NAMI Kansas; Cindy Hasvold, an emergency department RN case manager for Stormont-Vail Health Care; Shawn Kimble, an officer with TPD; Darren Root, Shawnee County assistant district attorney; Karen Stafford, crisis and intake manager for Valeo Behavioral Health Care; and Bill Rein, chief counsel with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

    Rein, who helped write Kansas’ mental health law in 1986 and the Mental Health Reform Act of 1990, talked about the Texas mental health law for emergency detention and how it differs slightly from the Kansas statute for emergency detention.

    “The issues are extremely difficult,” Rein said of mental health and the law.

    Root also spoke about the similarities and differences of the two laws. He said while the wording is different, the “purpose is the same.”

    The Kansas statute addresses care and treatment for mentally ill people and the investigation, emergency detention, and authority and duty of law enforcement officers.

    The Kansas statute states, “Any law enforcement officer who has a reasonable belief formed upon investigation that a person is a mentally ill person and because of such person’s mental illness is likely to cause harm to self or others if allowed to remain at liberty may take the person into custody without a warrant.”

    The Texas law states, “A peace officer, without a warrant, may take a person into custody if the officer has reason to believe and does believe that the person is mentally ill and because of that mental illness there is a substantial risk of serious harm to the person or to others unless the person is immediately restrained.”

    Audience members and panelists discussed how the wording “harm to self” is vague and could be interpreted differently by agencies across the state. Agencies also can interrupt the law differently.

    Amy Campbell, with the Mental Health Coalition of Kansas, said, “We can change the words, but nothing will change on the ground.”

    Several audience members and panelists emphasized that Kansas needs more resources. Some also said a lot of people are being sent to the state hospital when they could be better served in a less-restricted local treatment facility or intermediate program.

    “I think the law works pretty well,” Root said. “It comes down to resources.”

  • April 24, 2014 12:36 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    TOPEKA – Governor Sam Brownback today signed a proclamation designating May as Mental Health Awareness Month in Kansas, calling upon all citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, and schools in Kansas to commit to increasing awareness and understanding of mental illness and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental health conditions.

    “We are here today to remind Kansans that mental illness is a common, painful experience for many people and their families,” Governor Brownback said. “My administration is working to strengthen the community and institutional supports our state offers those in need of help.”

    “Mental illness is often called an invisible illness. Many people are suffering in silence. One in five Americans has experienced mental illness within the past year.  It doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can develop a mental illness,” Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Shawn Sullivan said at the proclamation signing ceremony.

    “Attitudes around mental illness are beginning to change, but we still have a long way to go toward being able to discuss mental illness as a health challenge,” Secretary Sullivan said. “Our agency is committed to bringing awareness, recognition and education to the issues surrounding behavioral health.”

    KDADS has programs in place to allow all Kansans to play a role in building safe, healthy and supportive communities that support those with mental illness.

    “Community initiatives and individual citizens’ actions are vital to combat mental health misconceptions and stigma.  Let’s all begin by having genuine, open conversations about how mental health issues impact our state, communities and neighborhoods,” Secretary Sullivan said. “We can help stop the discrimination and end the silence about mental health issues.”

    Information about KDADS’ mental health programs and services, as well as collaborative efforts with community and advocacy groups focused on mental health, is available on the agency website at www.kdads.ks.gov<http://www.kdads.ks.gov> and at http://www.kansasbehavioralhealthservices.org<http://www.kansasbehavioralhealthservices.org/bhs1.0/>.

    For more information, contact:
    Angela de Rocha
    Director of Communications
    Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services


(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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