Archive for Friday, January 11, 2013

Mental health advocates applaud Brownback initiative, want more details

January 11, 2013


— Mental health advocates on Friday welcomed Gov. Sam Brownback's attention to mental health needs, but said his proposal to shift $10 million in funds must ensure that other services aren't left wanting.

"There are a lot of details to be worked out," said David Johnson, chief executive officer of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

"There will be the challenge of how this money gets used, coupled with the challenge of how to make sure we are not dropping the ball someplace else," Johnson said.

On Thursday, Brownback announced an initiative that he said was aimed at providing $10 million to help treat the most at-risk and challenging populations.

“While many Kansans and their families currently live under the dark cloud of mental illness, my hope is that this new initiative will be the start of a brighter day," Brownback said.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence applauded Brownback for directing attention to mental health services.

But Davis added he was concerned "whether we're simply robbing Peter to pay Paul."

Brownback's proposal would establish a regional system of services for those who need intensive mental health care.

He said he would also appoint a task force to evaluate the state's current mental health system and make recommendations.

Brownback said the task force would include experts in mental health, medicine and criminal justice.

State grants to the 27 community mental health centers, which provide care for 123,000 Kansans per year and are required to serve all patients regardless of their ability to pay, have been slashed in recent years.

"I think we have some catching up to do," Johnson said. "But even being able to have the conversation and elevate the subject is an improvement."

Brownback, like officials in many states, has acknowledged that his interest in mental health services increased after last month's elementary school shooting in Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead at the hands of a gunman who reportedly had mental health problems.

"It took 20 little angels to get people's attention," Johnson said. "Now that people are paying attention to mental health needs, I'm convinced that what this $10 million will go for is good things."


Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

Beware Sam Brownback is behind this rhetoric = may not be as good as he wants it to sound.

Where is the ten million and is it accessible is the question?


Jean Robart 1 year, 3 months ago

I have been a mental health consumer for over 20 years, both in Kansas and elsewhere. The state of mental health care in Lawrence/Douglas county is why i see people in other cities in Kansas.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 3 months ago

Thank you costello. I am leery about forcing people into hospitals and keeping them there until someone decides to let them out. Is this any different than prison? How do the doctors decide who gets out and when?


JackMcKee 1 year, 3 months ago

does Sam think $10 million is going to just materialize?


Dan Eyler 1 year, 3 months ago

Pick your poison. There isn't enough money to go around. The money needs to go to keep seriously mental dangerous people off the streets. Serious mental illness has no cure. A week in a psych ward is useless. Granted it is a cooling off period and may keep someone from killing themselves or someone else but typically these individuals are back at it in short order. Those who have experienced this understand. Unlike other health issues where you get better, most seriously mental patients don't. Take the funding issue up with the three judges who want 450 million more spent on schools.


FlintHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Just a few questions: The article states that this is a "shift" of funds. From where is the $10 million being shifted? How much will this task force (if you can't do, study) cost? Why does a new "regional system of services" have to be "established"? Wouldn't it be less costly to use existing delivery systems? How much state money has been cut from mental health services since Gov. Brownback took office?

Actually, $10 million doesn't sound like much spread across the needs of the state, especially with new administrative (task force, regional system) costs being incurred. Sorry, folks, I'll have to be convinced that any substantive good will come of this. Great pr, though.


Louise Ehmke 1 year, 3 months ago

So Mr. Brownback has restored the $10 M he cut to mental health services from the last budget go round . That takes the mental health service back to maybe breaking even. It is tragic that 26 had to die to get the Gov. to restore what he cut. It is deplorable that he thinks this is such a victory. It is truly disgusting because of the true cost which made the gov change his mind. Nothing based on need in Kansas --no his decision was made for him by angels from Connecticut. Why would the governor ever believe Kansans who actually work in the profession . Go ahead mental health supporters--praise the gov. for restoring his cuts. I find it appalling .


Mike1949 1 year, 3 months ago

Brownback knows a lot about mental health first hand, lol


Kathy Getto 1 year, 3 months ago

These programs have been cut 50% already. Sam the shams proposal will not increase funding for mental health services.


Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

Chirp. . .Chirp

Given evilsam's track record, his experts will probably be faith based and from Florida.

From 2009 thru 2011 Kansas has cut 16% from it's mental health funding. Way to go evilsam! At least you are giving back a little bit of what you cut. Feel better now?


bigtoe 1 year, 3 months ago

That's right, nothing but crickets from the lefty loons here.


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