mental health

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas City-area business leaders and health executives are kicking off an effort to make mental health a priority in the workplace.

On Friday, the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care (MACHC) introduced the Right Direction Initiative, a free, ready-to-use communication campaign for businesses that want to improve the mental health of their employees.

A proposal to allow prior authorizations for Medicaid reimbursements on mental health drugs passed its final legislative hurdle Friday.

The measure, which was requested by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration as part of a budget proposal and projected to save $8 million, passed the House 82-31 as part of a small health conference committee package. It passed the Senate 31-6 earlier in the week and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Davis says he fancied himself a tough guy. So when he started exhibiting signs of odd behavior, like never opening the curtains in his house or always driving his convertible with the top down, he ignored them.

It was only after he went to jail for drunk driving, his wife left him and he lost his business that he understood he was in denial.   

Eventually he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A group of men in the vanguard of a new model of housing for chronically homeless people with mental illnesses sat around a small conference table eating pizza recently in Leavenworth.

It was the monthly social gathering for residents of the Marion Apartments, a single-story, 10-unit complex just off Main Street.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas City, Kan., facility meant to improve emergency mental health care was lauded by state officials, mental health service providers and law enforcement officials at a first-anniversary celebration Tuesday.

Rainbow Services Inc. opened April 7, 2014, to provide stabilization services for mental health or substance abuse emergencies. The facility near the University of Kansas Medical Center previously housed the Rainbow Mental Health Facility, a former state mental hospital.

Organizations that advocate on behalf of Kansas adults and children with mental illnesses are asking legislators to adopt a proviso that would protect their budgets for at least another year.

“We are having those conversations now,” said Rick Cagan, executive director with the Kansas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The conversations, he said, are on behalf of NAMI and Keys for Networking, a program that counsels families with children with severe emotional disturbances.

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have allowed KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to regulate mental health patients’ access to antipsychotic medications.

Fifteen Senators voted for Senate Bill 123, while 25 voted against the measure.

Since 2002, Kansas law has guaranteed Medicaid patients access to whatever behavioral health drugs their physician or psychiatrist sees fit to prescribe.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services recently announced that it will not renew its grants with five in-state organizations that advocate for emotionally disturbed children and people with mental illness, developmental disabilities or addiction issues.

The grants, totaling $518,000, end June 30.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

It looks like the state won’t be spending more money on its four hospitals for people whose disabilities or mental illnesses prevent them from safely caring for themselves.

Budget committees in the House and Senate have adopted Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for keeping the hospitals at their current spending levels through fiscal year 2017.

The committees each have forwarded their flat-spending recommendations to their respective chambers.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

 

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is attempting to head off opposition to a bill being crafted to allow the state to regulate the use of prescription mental health drugs.

Kari Bruffett, secretary of KDADS, met Wednesday with the Kansas Mental Health Coalition to ask its members to drop their opposition and instead help her draft a workable bill.

“We are open to having that discussion,” Bruffett said.

File photo

 

State officials have sold the former Rainbow Mental Health Facility building in Kansas City, Kan., to the University of Kansas Endowment Association.

The 11-acre property at 2205 W. 36th Ave. is a short distance from KU Medical Center.

“The transaction has occurred,” said Natalie Lutz, director of communications at the medical center. “The KU Endowment Association has purchased the building and will be meeting with the university to determine what the actual purpose of the property is going to be.”

Area police departments are looking for was to reduce the numbers of  mentally ill and substance abusers ending up in jail. A new program in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties is helping to address this very issue. Rainbow Services, Inc provides a way for law enforcement officers to bring people they encounter to resources that can help them.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has suspended voluntary admissions to Osawatomie State Hospital, one of the state’s two inpatient facilities for people with serious mental illnesses.

The decision, according to a memo sent to the state’s 26 community mental health centers late Tuesday afternoon, was driven by “ongoing and critical census challenges” at the state hospital. The memo also outlined procedures for handling patients who are involuntarily admitted.

Rex Roof / Creative Commons-Flickr

 

A legislative committee’s recommendation could reignite a debate over whether the state should have the power to regulate Medicaid reimbursements for mental health medications, as it does for other types of drugs.

High standards. A desire for greater control. A predisposition toward anxiety or depression. These traits are common among people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. These illnesses are complex, multifaceted and incredibly dangerous. Body image is just the tip of the iceberg.

Guests:

  • Dr. Ashley McCune, counselor, InSight
  • Jon Smith, patient in recovery

The community mental health center in Topeka on Thursday will formally open a 26-bed crisis intervention center that’s expected to lead to fewer mentally ill adults being referred to Osawatomie State Hospital or ending up in jail.

Michael Price / KCPT

The state of Kansas City's mental health care services is dire, according to a new documentary.

Journalist and documentary filmmaker Michael Price's Lost Minds: KC's Mental Health Crisis focuses on the growing number of fraught confrontations between severely mentally ill people and police on Kansas City's streets. The locally produced documentary airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday on KCPT. 

Johnson County announced Thursday that it has hired a new director for its mental health center.

The new hire is Tim DeWeese, a longtime staff member of the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

For nearly the past two years, DeWeese has served as director of clinical services, overseeing the largest operating division of the center. He has also served the center as director of community support services and as a crisis case-management team leader.

Academic institutions in Missouri and Kansas were awarded federal grants of more than $1.2 million to train mental health providers, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.

The grants were among $99 million disbursed by HHS under the Obama administration’s “Now Is the Time” plan aimed at reducing gun violence, increasing access to mental health services and making schools safer, according to a department news release.

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

 

A Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services official said Thursday that the agency has identified 11 communities that appear to be referring inordinate numbers of patients to the state hospitals for mentally ill or have above-average numbers of inmates in the state’s correctional systems who are known to be mentally ill.

“We’ve been going out and meeting with people in those communities,” said KDADS Assistant Secretary Lea Taylor, addressing a statewide conference in Lawrence on law enforcement training and mental health crises.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Understanding where people come from and how they think is crucial in mental health treatments. Cultural belief systems affect how we view just about everything, including the mind and its troubles. Kansas City area health workers discuss how that understanding shapes their work with immigrant communities.

Guests:

Mike Sherry / The Hale Center for Journalism

 

A reconstituted mental health facility in Kansas City, Kan., has been a financial and therapeutic success in its first five months of operation, officials involved in the transition said Wednesday.

“It’s great news so far,” said Kari Bruffett, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), “and I think it’s only going to get better.”

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

 

Out of the 8,000 full- and part-time law enforcement officers in Kansas, only 1 in 4 have been trained to handle crisis calls involving the mentally ill.

Records show that 80 percent of the nearly 1,800 trained officers work in four high-population counties: Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte.

The other 20 percent — about 360 officers — are spread across police and sheriff’s departments in the remaining 101 counties.

www.kansasmemory.org / Kansas State Historical Society

 

One day last month, Osawatomie State Hospital had 254 patients in its care — almost 50 more than its optimal capacity.

The overcrowded conditions forced a few dozen patients, all of them coping with a serious mental illness and likely a danger to themselves or others, to be triple-bunked in rooms meant for two.

Ryan Melaugh / Flickr-CC

Young people experience complex emotions, and it can be hard to pick out which teens are at risk for depression and other mental issues. Some problems may just be natural growing pains, but some are not.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about what teen depression is-- and what it isn't-- and examine the broad range of strategies available to treat it.

Guests:

Ron Henry / Flickr-CC

The death of Robin Williams is sparking a nation-wide discussion about depression and its effects.

On Wednesday's Up to Date we hear about new research that suggests that lifestyle changes can make more of a difference than medicine when it comes to clinical depression.

Guest:

More than a quarter of Americans self-identify as being under a great deal of stress. What's troubling us, and why do some people respond to stressful situations with greater resilience than others?

Guest:

Four safety net clinics in Kansas and three in Missouri have been awarded federal funding to create or expand mental health services for low-income individuals. 

The funding is part of almost $55 million in similar grants nationwide through the Affordable Care Act. The clinics will each receive about $250,000.

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas saw 2,500 patients for mental health issues last year.  CEO Krista Postai says she intends to use the new money to integrate medical and behavioral care.

Alex Smith / KCUR

At the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center on Thursday afternoon, Eyvette Carter struggled to carry on a basic conversation with her husband, Warren.

She was distracted in no small part by Karl Chaney whispering in her ear.

“Don’t trust him. Is he looking at you? Why would he want to talk to you?” Chaney said.

The group was taking part in an auditory hallucination simulation, designed to demonstrate the experience of a psychotic episode.

Gina Kaufmann, KCUR

On Thursday's Central Standard, we looked back at the history of intervention in mental health crises, going all the way back to the 19th century. 

The Glore Psychiatric Museum (formerly known as State Lunatic Asylum #2) captures both the treatments of the past and the controversies they sparked. Treatments in mental health hospitals once ranged from a "bath of surprise," which disrupted thought-patterns by dropping the patient into a shockingly cold bath, to lobotomies and fever cabinets.

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