Davids Secures Funding for Mental Health Centers in the Kansas Third District

October 6, 2021
Press Release
Announcement comes during National Mental Illness Awareness Week

Today, during National Mental Illness Awareness Week, Representative Sharice Davids announced two grants from the Department of Health & Human Services to support mental health services in the Third District of Kansas. The grants are as follows:

  • $4,762,035 to the Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare to increase capacity and provide trauma-informed treatment to youth and adults in Wyandotte County, particularly in schools.
  • $927,512 to Johnson County Mental Health Center for their Reentry Project, supporting the unique mental health needs of incarcerated individuals as they prepare to reenter society.

 

These grants will be used to help community health centers in the Third District recover from the pandemic and restore important services for individuals with mental health issues. Demand for mental health services has increased over the last year, leading to both a shortage of services and more burnout in health professionals. These grants will work to address both of those issues and ensure all residents of the Third District have access to quality mental health care.

 

“Mental health is health, a fact that has become even clearer as the pandemic has taken its toll on all aspects of our communities’ wellbeing. These grants will help address the strain on our health care system and ensure Third District residents are healthy and safe,” said Davids. “I’m glad to support the mission of both of these important organizations.”

 

“We know that getting incarcerated individuals the mental health support they need is critical for their long-term wellness and success outside of the justice system,” said Tim DeWeese, Director of Johnson County Mental Health Center. “This grant will not only change the lives of the hundreds of individuals directly served by the Reentry Program, but also the lives of these individuals’ families, friends and neighbors. There are also systemic benefits, such as reducing loads in the criminal justice system caused by recidivism or in the health system caused by untreated mental health conditions. We are excited for the new doors that this grant opens to us to be able to serve our community in meaningful ways.”

 

“We are very grateful to have received this grant and are very appreciate of Rep. Davids’ support,” said Randy Callstrom, President and CEO of Wyandot Behavioral Health Network. “We are seeing people with significant anxiety and depression at least in part due to the pandemic. And as students have returned to the school buildings, we are seeing the impact that COVID has had on children in Wyandotte County.”

 

Background:

 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) award grants through their Community Mental Health Centers grant program. The program enables community mental health centers to support and restore the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively address the needs of individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

 

The Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare grant will provide trauma-informed mental health treatment to youth and adults from Wyandotte County experiencing serious emotional disturbance, serious mental illness, or co-occurring substance use disorder. The Center plans to improve school capacity to help youth with mental health needs transition to school after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase crisis services and response for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Wyandot Center will use this grant to provide behavioral health care via telehealth and in person to deliver services to more than 3,000 individuals over the two-year grant term.

 

Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) will use this grant to fund their Reentry Project, providing additional staff and supports to ensure incarcerated individuals have access to mental health services and resources when reentering the community. The Johnson County Department of Corrections estimates that 27% of individuals in its jails have serious mental illness, which is higher than the estimated 5% of the general U.S. adult population. Incarcerated individuals have also been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to their higher rates of sickness and death (five times the national rate). JCMHC will serve 200 individuals over the course of this project. Additionally, the pandemic has had a profound effect on JCMHC staff, and part of this grant will be used to develop resources and support for their mental health needs.

 

This funding was authorized by H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which Davids voted to support in December 2020.

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