Letter to the Editor 5-3-13

Dear Editor,
 May is National Mental Health Month. Pawnee Mental Health Services has provided community mental health services to individuals in ten counties in north central Kansas for more than 56 years.
 The issue of mental health has recently received increased attention due to widely publicized events, most recently the Dec. 14, 2012 tragedy where Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother in their home, then shot and killed 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before killing himself.
 In the months that have followed, The Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153/H.R. 274) was introduced in Congress and would authorize $20 million to support public education and training on how to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.
 Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that helps people identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Pawnee Mental Health Services has trained 466 people in Mental Health First Aid since May, 2011. For more information on a class near you, please contact mary.heath@pawnee.org.
 Another response of Congress includes The Excellence in Mental Health Act (S.2257) which would create Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers (FQBHCs.) The Act would establish national standards and oversight for FQBHCs. Proponents say FQBHCs  will reduce costs to taxpayers through integrated care strategies that prevent the development of costly health problems and disease complications. This is the same premise upon which the Governor’s KanCare Medicaid program is based.
 Individuals with diabetes and serious mental illness covered by the KanCare Medicaid program are scheduled to be assigned to “health homes” by January 1, 2014. The health home model will move the Kansas Medicaid program from a fee-for-service based model, where providers are paid based on how many units of service they provide, to an outcomes based model, where providers are paid based on the health outcomes (results) in their member population.
 A response of the Governor to the Newtown tragedy is the Governor’s Mental Health Initiative which allocates $10 million to the Kansas Community Mental Health System for the creation of five regional recovery support centers which would provide intensive services to some of the state’s most difficult to treat individuals. This is not new money. The Family Centered System of Care (FCSC) program ($4.75 million) will not be funded in FY2014 and $5 million will be cut from Mental Health Reform funding.
 FCSC funding provides mental health services for over 6,300 children annually in Kansas with serious emotional disturbances (SED) and their families. Mental Health Reform funding provides community mental health services for individuals who might otherwise require treatment in the state psychiatric hospitals. State Mental Health Reform funding has already been cut by 50% or $15 million since FY2008.
 We appear to be experiencing elevated levels of mental health distress in our society. It can be debated whether this is an objective reality or the result of increased media coverage. There does, fortunately, seem to be increased awareness of the issue and its impact on the individual, the family and the community, at both the state and national level. There may even be elementary consensus on how to respond.
 There are new initiatives. Sometimes these initiatives complement each other, sometimes they don't. Sometimes these initiatives address the issue of stigma, sometimes they don't. Sometimes these initiatives possess the potential for real change, sometimes they don't. No doubt, any effective change effort will be complex, will require vision and courage from its leaders and the cooperation of multiple stakeholders.
 Please contact your U.S. Senator and Representative and urge them to support the Mental Health First Aid Act and the Excellence in Mental Health Act. Please contact your Kansas Senator and Representative and urge them to support the $10 million in funding to the Kansas community mental health centers which is contained in the Governor's Mental Health Initiative.

Robbin Cole, Executive Director
Pawnee Mental Health Services
Manhattan

OPINIONS

Prairie Pondering

Times not to be forgotten . . .  A recent headline declares “Music complements life.”  Does it ever! But the immediate reaction to that headline was thinking that, hopefully, we soon could be hearing early band practice. It gets me out of bed on lazy... [More]

In the mean time

 Under August 20, “Touchstones,” a book of daily meditations for men, has this to offer, “Spiritual growth is the result of coming face-to-face with our own situation, feeling the brunt of our own puzzlement, recognizing no recipe will apply completely,... [More]

More Opinions

NEWS

County officials give reports at monthly meeting

Cloud County board of commissioners had its monthly meeting with county officials as part of their regular session Monday morning and heard the following reports: COUNTY CLERK Linda Bogart reported her office is completing all of the reporting requirements for the August Primary... [More]

For the record 8-19-14

Police Dept. Report  Arrests—Officers arrested James D. Ninemire, 40, Concordia, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Aug. 19, in the 900 block of Archer Street charging him with Driving Under the Influence, Transporting an Open Container, Possession of Marijuana and Possession... [More]

For the record 8-18-14

Police Dept. Report Theft–Gilford Hale, Concordia, reported on Friday, Aug. 15, at 12:45 p.m. the Theft of Items from the 500 block of West 3rd St. Investigation continues. Accident– Officers investigated an Accident on Sat., Aug. 16th, at 11:00 a.m. in the 1500 block... [More]

More News

SPORTS

Local gymnasts compete

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gymnasts representing the Concordia Gymnastics Center competed in the 2014 Junior Olympics.  Katie Thompson, Concordia, captured first place in the all-around in the Level 7, 18-year-old division. She was first on the bars, first in the floor exercise,... [More]

Blues advance to semifinals of state tournament

WATHENA – The Concordia Blues advanced to the semifinals of the Class AA State American Legion baseball tournament with a 9-6 win over Larned here last night. The Blues are one of just two unbeaten teams remaining in the double elimination tournament. Fort Scott, also unbeaten... [More]

More Sports

Buy Photos