Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brownback wants to examine mental health services

December 20, 2012


TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback said Thursday that he wants to examine whether Kansas is providing adequate mental health services but is wary of jumping into a contentious debate over gun control following last week’s mass elementary school shooting in Connecticut.

Brownback also said during an interview with The Associated Press that he believes responding to the shooting with proposals to rewrite gun laws is likely to prevent a serious examination of mental health services. He said he believes the nation needs to look into mental health services and the deeper causes of such mass shootings.

The Kansas governor has previously limited his comments about last week’s events in Newtown, Conn., by expressing public support for the families of the victims. A gunman killed 27 people, including 20 children, before killing himself.

The deaths occurred two days before two Topeka police officers were gunned down in a grocery store parking lot when they went to investigate a report of possible drug activity.

“One of the things I want to look at is whether or not we’re providing sufficient mental health services,” Brownback said. “I think it’s going to get a lot more interest now because I think the country’s just a lot more serious about dealing with this after Connecticut.”

The mass shooting in Connecticut has renewed the nation’s debate over issues such as whether a federal ban on semi-automatic weapons should be revived or whether background checks should be required for all gun sales. But gun rights advocates in several states have argued their laws should be revised to allow teachers and administrators to bring concealed weapons into school buildings for protection.

Kansas law allows residents to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. There’s a general ban on concealed weapons on school property, but local officials can pre-empt the ban by declining to post notices on school buildings, though education officials don’t know of any examples where that’s happened.

Brownback said having a national discussion about mental health services is vital, but, “If you immediately go to the heat-seeking issue, you’re not even going to start the discussion.”

“It’s just going to go to the polarized points immediately,” he said.


Robert Rauktis 5 years, 5 months ago

"deeper causes of such mass shootings"

How about a mother who's a gun nut who takes her kid to the range with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

"Hey...good shot, Poot!"

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

She was teaching him "responsibility" according to some reports.

Frank A Janzen 5 years, 5 months ago

Right. Guns don't kill people; crazy people with guns kill people.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

And children with misplaced guns, and careless people with guns, and drunk people with guns, and...

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

Let's see now, funds were slashed for this very thing and after the fact, we're going to check if Kansas is providing adequate mental services in Kansas? People in Topeka and Lawrence have been talking about this for the past two freaking years.

Heck no, the mental health services aren't adequate in Kansas! They're not adequate in any state in this nation that I'm aware of. Kansas used to be one of the leaders in this area when we had Menningers and the Topeka State Hospital, then the Republican party decided it would be more expedient to shut down state owned mental hospitals and dumped the problem in the laps of towns that don't have the means to support this need. Topeka fell asleep and Menningers found better support in Texas. Talk to the prison wardens, talk to Barry Feaker, executive director of the Topeka Rescue Mission, talk to the hospitals, Governor.

Mike1949 5 years, 5 months ago

As long as Brownback is running around loose, mental health in our state is non-functional because Brownback would be the first one committed!

Lisa Medsker 5 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like a knee-jerk political move, to me. Most people who are mentally ill are also poor, either from paying for treatment, or no longer being able to afford treatment, thereby, not being able to maintain stable employment. Sammy's very favoritest population. It wouldn't shock me if he paid lip-service with a grudging agreement that mental health services are garbage, but I'd be willing to bet that his solution would be "Pray Away the Sad".

friendlyjhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Let's lock Brownie up for the rest of his term and let him learn about mental health care up close and personally.

Martha Oldham 5 years, 5 months ago

You and I had the same thought--I wondered if he thought he needed some mental health help.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like Brownie got the NRA talking point-- blame it all on poor mental health services (but then do nothing about it, because it might jeopardize tax cuts to the Koch Bros.)

Josh Brumm 5 years, 5 months ago

"Gov. Sam Brownback said Thursday that he wants to examine whether Kansas is providing adequate mental health services"

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

thinkb4utype 5 years, 5 months ago

Actually funding for mental heath has nearly tripled during the last 13 years in 2000, $158million ... In 2013, $438 million...and that doesn't include what is spent in state prisons... I know its hard for many of you brownback haters to fathom, but he makes a good point about the need to look at how these services matter your political philosophy on gun control, making sure those who need mental health services are getting the right services should be the focus...

deec 5 years, 5 months ago

Is there a source for your claim? Because according to NAMI, Kansas cut expenditures on mental health from $115.4 million in FY 2009 to $96.5 million in FY 2011, a 16.4% decrease in just two years.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

thinkb4utype, I've searched for sites backing up your comment but all I'm finding is quite the opposite of what you claim. Please cite your source; I'd really like to read it.

funkdog1 5 years, 5 months ago

I'll tell you the source: Conservative Delusion Land. Because nowadays, conservatives just make up whatever "facts" "reports" and "sources" that they want, and then behave as if that's reality.

Bob Hechlor 5 years, 5 months ago

Your statement is less than thoughtful. Cite your sources. Those of us in the business know that the funds have been cut. Dollars are being stretched and stretched. Secondly, more mentally ill people are being dealt with in the courts and correctional system and yes, that does cost more. You need to do a much better job of researching this situation before coming off as a self righteous know it all.

progressive_thinker 5 years, 5 months ago

It is sad that it takes a national tragedy to get our Governor to even acknowledge that there is a need for mental health services. It is not long ago that he was leading the charge in our "race for the bottom" by cutting funding for mental health services.

Now the Governor wants to look toward the mental health system as a root cause of this tragedy.

It is well known that persons with mental illnesses are overrepresented in jail and prison populations. It is also well known that mental illnesses can often be effectively managed within the community and that in doing so, crimes can be prevented. To do so requires adequate funding for case management and treatment, including therapy and medication. In doing so, we stand a chance at preventing not only a horrific tragedy such as the one that happened in Connecticut, but also at preventing the personal tragedies that occur almost daily, but which garner much less media attention.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Could part of the problem lie with big government. The government does very little well. I would guess that our mental facilities suffer from this. Turn it over to the private sector.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

Turn it over to the private sector? Isn't that what Brownback and the others have already done and with no funding? Who the heck to you think is going to pay for it - the mentally ill, some of whom can't even keep a job, much less get one?

Please explain how this would work, Cant_have_it.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Dont have to. It is broke now... Keep throwing good money after bad and we will continue down this path.

I too, choose to help those who actually need it, but maintain that the Government does very little well and costs are upwards of 3X what it could be done for in the private sector.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

You know, all those pronouncements you make would be much more effective if you click your heels three times while making them.

I bet you could even declare yourself King of France!!!

Alyosha 5 years, 5 months ago

It's a core function of Kansas government, as well as being the Christian thing to do, to care for those who need care.

To turn such an important function of government over to a private entity for whom profit is the main goal would be to abrogate social responsibility.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

Where in our countries founding documents does it say that this is an important function of government?

jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

One says Kansas, other refers to the country. I guess you . . . Can have it both ways, if you try hard enough.

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

Empty words from the worst Govenor in the history of Kansas.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

I did not say insurance companies. I said private sector. You too, know that most everything the government manages is a total disaster. The mental health system is a victim of that. Huge costs due to regulation and requirements by bureaucrats have ran the system into the ground. The governement has been in charge of mental health up to now and look where it is. There is nothing wrong with turning it over to the private sector. It could only get better.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Do any of the current mental health services have openings for long term care and services?

Sam Brownback and his right wing members are seeking counseling and would retire from the tax dollar payroll if services could be rendered beginning immediately if not sooner.

This is their only hope to be saved from their extreme insensitivities toward other human beings.

Also this is their only hope to be saved from the addiction to tax dollar payrolls and taxpayer supported medical care.

Kansas Mental Health Institutions please open your doors in an effort to relieve the Brownback administration of their evil ways.

Thank you for this consideration.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

Larry, they certainly were a lot better than they are now before Governor Graves term. At least we had more services and placements available for the mentally ill other than jail and the prisons. I'm guessing you were not yet an adult during those years, so of course you wouldn't be aware of that unless you lived in Topeka.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

And by the way, mentally handicapped refers to the mentally challenged, not mental illness. Many mentally ill people are not mentally handicapped.

BlueWaffle 5 years, 5 months ago

For almost 10 years Kansas was one of the front runers in mental health care in the US. Yet in the last 2 years we have lost many years of gains. I belive Brownback is getting a little nervous on who would catch the blame if something like sandy hook was to happen in kansas. This is just my opinion.

costello 5 years, 5 months ago

"Brownback wants to examine mental health services"

Those are some chilling words. Every time he "examines services," he "cuts funding."

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

That was my thoughts exactly, but you beat me to it.

weeslicket 5 years, 5 months ago

quite right, costello and others. i worry that governor brownback will create another "efficiency task force", to which he could appoint reps from AFP, CFG, CofC and NRA, but no mental health experts.

BigDog 5 years, 5 months ago

State spending levels for FY 2010 per capita per Kaiser Foundation

State spending level for FY 2010 statewide $375,700,00 per Kaiser Foundation

Joe Hyde 5 years, 5 months ago

I applaud Gov. Brownback's desire to review the delivery of mental health services in Kansas. Always a sensible thing to do.

However, even a state boasting the finest public mental health delivery system in the world cannot prevent tragedies such as the Newtown, CT massacre, where a trusting mother allowed her certified mentally imbalanced son access to a mini-armory of unsecured firearms and ammo right there in the family home.

The best way to reduce the chances of this happening again is for the nation to undertake long-term public information campaigns aimed at improving methods of home storage of all lethal weapons and ammo.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 5 months ago

More legislation? I would choose the more personal responsibility route.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

So would I, but that obviously doesn't work.

Incredible 5 years, 5 months ago

The gunman killed 27 people, not 26. His first victim was his mother.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

I think that Brownback gets it very well. He's got a nice retirement waiting for him, even if he's only a one termer.

Or he could be completely deluded. It's a toss up.

globehead 5 years, 5 months ago

Faith based mental health initiatives run by Bible thumping fundamentalists lunatics from Florida will be his solution, as with everything else.

BlueWaffle 5 years, 5 months ago

But if you believe all evil in the world was caused by a talking snake convincing a woman to eat a magic apple your sane.

Anne Tangeman 5 years, 5 months ago

I think mental health services should examine (and commit) Brownback.

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

Have you heard the latest? (it's on Facebook.)

President Obama engineered the Newtown shootings so that he could ban all guns. I was surprised not to have seen it here first.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

1) Gee, if it's on Facebook it must be true!

2) I'll believe it when I see it on Fox News

BlueWaffle 5 years, 5 months ago

Dont forget the world ended at 11:11am today too.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 5 months ago

Get used to what happened in Connecticut, folks. It is the new normal. With the gutting of the mental health system of the last 30 years combined with free and open access to military style weaponry, it is the natural outcome.

These 20 children and eight adults are just the latest, and certainly not the last, burnt offerings to the gods of extreme gun rights ideology.

globehead 5 years, 5 months ago

Actually, I'm old enough to remember Carter having pushed for policies releasing numbers from mental hospitals in the name of human rights, then seeing a lot of folks go without needed services because they were on their own and unable to make good decisions in their own best interest. It's a tough call, but I think there is a lot of blame to go around here.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 5 months ago


Mental health services want to examine Brownback.

KiferGhost 5 years, 5 months ago

I think it is great the Brownback wants to explore the state of his mental health, it is the first step to finding help.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 5 months ago

No, gun violence will never go away. But that does not mean that it should not be minimized.

The gun fetishists are so extreme and ideological in their views that even common sense restrictions on military style weapons are ideological violations leading to dictatorship and caskets full of dead children are simply the price we pay for this "freedom".

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