Governor Laura Kelly Proclaims September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
TOPEKA (STL.News) Governor Laura Kelly To raise awareness and educate Kansans on suicide prevention, Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed September “Suicide Prevention Month” in the State of Kansas as part of the larger National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) campaign, “Together for Mental Health.”
“We must continue working to break past the stigma surrounding mental health issues and address these issues head on,” said Governor Kelly. “By advancing initiatives like the 9-8-8 suicide and crisis hotline and funding mental health resources in our schools, my administration is doing everything in our power to support Kansans’ mental health.”
Over the past four years, the Kelly Administration has made suicide prevention and mental health accessibility a priority. She has:
- Created the first the Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator;
- Approved a state-funded investment of more than $15 million annually in the area of suicide prevention and crisis services;
- Reformed 26 Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) to be Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) with capabilities to treat mental health and substance abuse crises through integrated physical-behavioral care;
- Expanded the state’s capacity to provide mental health care to Kansans closer to home by bringing new youth facilities online, working to lift the moratorium at Osawatomie, and increasing the states’ workforce through the 24/7 pay plan;
- Invested in the Mental Health Intervention Teams Program. Governor Kelly has provided $33 million in funding for the program and has grown the program from 9 districts to 67 and from 1,708 students to close to 5,000 served annually;
- Increased funding to address the competency evaluation and restoration process at Larned State Hospital and fund additional mobile competency and restoration services through community mental health centers;
- Launched the 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline, allowing any Kansans who may be experiencing a mental health emergency to dial 988 and receive professional support. Kansas is one of the first states in the country to have the new hotline funded and operational;
- Modernized 26 Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) to be Certified?Community Behavioral Health Clinics?(CCBHCs) by 2024 with capabilities to treat mental health and substance abuse crises through integrated physical-behavioral care;
- Provided Kansas ranchers and farmers with mental health resources needed to cope with ag-related stress by launching kansasagstress.org.
“There is still a lingering stigma surrounding suicide and mental health, leaving some Kansans feeling they are alone,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard said. “At KDADS we’ve made significant and impactful advances with our mental health partners across the state to implement new programs and open new crisis centers. And of course, the recent transition to the 9-8-8 dialing code represents a valuable opportunity to transform the way we respond to people in crisis and let them know they are not alone.”
Governor Kelly’s proclamation highlights the many ways Kansas is dedicated to eliminating suicide and raising awareness. It recognizes Kansas is united in raising awareness, that prevention is possible, treatment is effective, and people do recover.
“We lose too many people each year to suicide and each loss is an immeasurable tragedy. At the same time, 2022 has seen advancements in crisis service accessibility, and stronger partnerships across the state which will support increasing suicide prevention opportunities,” Monica Kurz, LMSW Vice President Policy & Prevention at Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, said. “I am hopeful that there are ways we can continue to act as individuals and systems to protect more lives.”
For free, confidential support or prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones 24/7, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Suicide Prevention Month is observed in conjunction with “Creating Hope Through Action” World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 and National Suicide Prevention Week September 4-10.
View the Governor’s proclamation here.
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