mental health

Army veteran Cody Bolkenstyn remembers when his vehicle exploded in Iraq. And for him, hearing the sound of fireworks on the Fourth of July can put him back into that moment.

“It’s hard to control my breath,” he said. “In that instant I feel like I just got blown up or shot and then I kind of come back to reality really quick.”

Betty Lee/Ars Electronica / flickr

Wichita Public Schools will begin offering mental health services for children and families at some schools beginning in August.

The Kansas Legislature selected the district to test a new mental health intervention program.

Sedgwick County’s Comcare will provide behavioral health intervention teams to assess and treat students at 22 schools.

Comcare Executive Director Joan Tammany says the additional staffing on-site at schools will increase access to mental health treatment.

Office of the Attorney General

The attorney general’s office announced that a new task force will focus on preventing youth suicide in Kansas.

A recent report from the State Child Death Review Board found that average suicide rates for Kansan minors more than doubled between 2005 and 2015.

A quarter of Kansas working-age adults and a third of the state’s children live in households dealing with medical debt.

That’s one of the takeaways from a new report commissioned by five Kansas and Missouri health foundations, believed to be the largest survey to date of health consumers in the two states.

In Kansas, about 2,600 adults and minors were included. The survey answers point to problems with access to dental and mental health care, among other services.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Jim Persinger tells the story with a little frustration.

A school administrator saw school psychologists — his field — as interchangeable with counselors and social workers.

Betty Lee/Ars Electronica / flickr

Kansas legislators have approved a pilot program to team up schools and community mental health centers to treat some of the state's most at-risk children.

The plan was proposed in the House and was folded into a bill that legislators approved early Sunday to increase spending on public schools.

It calls for setting aside $10 million to treat and track two pre-selected groups of children in six districts across the state.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Troubles in the Kansas foster care system might stem in large part from a shortage of places that can help children in psychiatric crisis, say some lawmakers and child advocate groups.

Since 2013, the number of psychiatric residential treatment facilities in Kansas has dropped from 11 to eight, with 222 fewer available beds.

Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter is asking state lawmakers to consider adding regional mental health facilities to improve access to treatment and speed up the evaluation process.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas sheriffs are asking lawmakers for help in dealing with mental health issues affecting counties statewide.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, representing the Kansas Sheriffs' Association, provided a snapshot of the situation at a workshop in Topeka this week.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Today, when mentally ill Kansans land in a psychiatric hospital or behind bars, they lose Medicaid coverage. When they’re freed, the daunting chore of signing up for government health coverage starts from scratch.

Now, a push gaining steam among state lawmakers would merely pause that coverage, keeping care and critical medications ready for mental health patients when they get out.

Pages