mental health

VALLEY FALLS, Kansas — Dennis Ritchey stands in the kitchen of his modest apartment. He calls it efficient, but likes that it has plenty of cabinets.

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A Wichita group that works to prevent substance abuse in the community is trying a new approach to reach at-risk young people.

The Safe Streets Coalition selected five students to serve as mental health advocates for their peers at Wichita high schools. Safe Streets calls their teen volunteers “youth mobilizers.”

Program leader Ngoc Vuong says youth mobilizers will support students who struggle with mental health issues or substance abuse.

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Susan Haynes used to have panic attacks seven times a day.

Sometimes, she would fall out of her chair. Sometimes, she would stop breathing.

“I could just fall down, just collapse and look like I was having a seizure or stroke,” she said. “It was pretty scary.”

TOPEKA — Courtney Train spends her days going to nail salons, the pool and the dog park.

As a paid mentor and advocate for children ages 8 to 18 who’ve seen domestic violence at home or experienced it while dating, Train knows quality time — and fun — with a trusted adult can be in short supply for her clients.

Multiple organizations in Wichita that provide mental health, substance abuse and homeless services plan to team up with the police department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.

They all will work together to prevent people who are seeking care from getting lost in the system.

“Over the last few years, recognizing that with the systems that are siloed … you had mental health, you had substance abuse, homelessness and all of them with different missions and with different monies,” said Harold Casey, executive director of the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas.

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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address behavioral health needs of Kansans from birth to 21 years.

KMUW/File photo

A program that offers mental health services at 22 Wichita schools is finishing its first year with signs of success.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers restored mental health funding for Sedgwick County’s Community Crisis Center and two other mental health centers Wednesday.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Immigrants that come to Wichita to start a new life say they face significant adjustments that can be overwhelming at times. But are they getting the help they need, especially when it comes to treating mental health issues?

courtesy / / Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center

Veterans who struggle with substance abuse disorders will have a new treatment option in south-central Kansas.

The Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center is building a residential rehabilitation facility on its Wichita campus.

When it opens next year, veterans will no longer have to drive to Topeka, Leavenworth or Kansas City for inpatient VA care.

Dr. John Chelf, associate chief of staff for behavioral health, says the unlocked facility fills the gap between outpatient counseling and locked inpatient treatment.

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