Letter to the Editor 5-3-13
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 email@example.com.
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
National Night Out: Your chance to share stories, meet your neighbors By Patrick Sieben It's that time of year once again. The lightning bugs are flitting about, the humidity is doing its thing to curl even the straightest hair and once again our community will be celebrating... [More]
Sales tax and compensating use tax received in Cloud County in June (May sales) of this year was up from the amount received in 2013. JoDee LeDuc, Cloud County treasurer, reported at Monday's county commission meeting that the amount received in June was $61,764.02, compared... [More]
Police Dept. Report Accident—Officers investigated a two vehicle Accident at 11:10 a.m., July 18, in the 400 block of West 10th St. involving vehicles driven by James Kearns, Belleville, and Carl Jackson, Concordia. Damage to property—Savannah A. Brockelman,... [More]
Fire Dept./EMS Report At 9:23 a.m., Friday, Medic-5, Truck-2 responded to a smoke alarm activation in the 200 block of West 9th. There was no fire. At 2:33 p.m., Friday, Medic-5,Truck-2 responded to the 400 block of East 9th for a medical call. There was no transport. At 12:37... [More]
OSBORNE — Avenging its only loss of the season, Citizens National Bank thumped Washington County 9-1 in the championship game of the K-18 Baseball East Regional on Saturday night. Washington County had beaten Citizens National Bank in the title game of the league tournament... [More]
Four junior golfers from Concordia recorded first-place finishes in the league competition. Two tournaments were played in Concordia, and one in Clay Center. The low scores were counted. Brennen Acree, Concordia, placed first in the high school boys' division... [More]
- Blues rally to complete sweep of Plainville
- Concordia Lions beat Knights of Columbus
- Concordia Swim Team competes in Clay Center
- Cloud County Co-op tops American Legion
- Concordia Swim Team hosts meet
- CCCC has three claim national titles
- CHS first in JV league tournament
- CHS golfers place at Marysville