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

 The other Buffett . . .  Sometimes one can get the feeling that we're all in a world where everything is spinning out of control. And one of the worries is that so many people, especially young ones, are starving–too many to try to cover all the bases.  Who... [More]

Letter to the Editor 7-29-16

Dear Editor,  Did you notice the picture and article in Tuesday's Blade concerning young Girl Scout Melanie Aytes?   Advancement in scouting does not come easily. We have the opportunity to help Melanie earn her bronze medal in community service. Her project includes... [More]

More Opinions

NEWS

Goats are popular choice at Cloud County Fair

Every year, county Fairs throughout Kansas feature the agricultural roots of the state prominently, most noticeably through 4-H livestock. The county Fair always has sheep, swine, goat, and beef shows, as well as rabbit judging and, back this year after an absence last year due... [More]

Three vying for sheriff’s position

Brian Marks (incumbent) Looking to extend his time as Cloud County Sheriff another term, Sheriff Brian Marks lists public safety and officer safety as the two most important components of law enforcement. Originally from Hutchinson, Kan., Marks received a Bachelor of Science... [More]

Courthouse 7-29-16

District Court TRAFFIC All Subtypes July 13-19 The following people received fines for Speeding: Vanessa Michele Alvarez, $231; Bryan Scott Averill, David Baldwin, Carly S. Bloomfield, Denison S. Coellner, Ira Crathers, David W. Fisher, Kathleen A. Griffin, Cherie L. Hron, Mark... [More]

More News

SPORTS

American Legion drops Osborne to win state title

OSBORNE — Putting up six runs in the top of the fourth inning, the Concordia American Legion knocked off host Osborne 9-3 in the championship game of the Kansas Pee Wee Baseball State Tournament Friday night. The American Legion was clinging to a slim 2-1 lead heading into... [More]

American Legion advances to state title game

OSBORNE — Winning a matchup of two Concordia teams, the American Legion advanced to the championship game of the Kansas State Pee Wee Baseball Tournament. The American Legion shut out 16th Street Car Wash 5-0 in the tournament semifinals on Thursday night. Advancing to... [More]

More Sports

Buy Photos