TOPEKA – (September 13, 2017) − Three applicants have been awarded grants from the Tower Foundation totaling $81,979 to support mental health services in Kansas, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
In April, Board members met with state mental health and education representatives to discuss the high number of youth suicides and opioid addiction. The 2018 grant awards focus on joint community efforts that target depression, substance abuse and suicide in our school-aged population. This year, the Foundation required applicants to collaborate with one or more local organizations in their efforts.
Pawnee Mental Health Services, which provides mental health services to individuals in 11 counties in north central Kansas, and Cloud County Community College, located in Concordia, were awarded a $11,054 grant that will fund onsite services to assist with recognizing risk factors and warning signs for those experiencing a mental health or substance abuse disorder. The collaboration will partner to make mental health and substance abuse services more accessible to students and to provide mental health first aid training to faculty and staff.
Compass Behavioral Health, which serves 13 counties in Southwest Kansas, partnered with the Ford County Sheriff’s Department in Dodge City. Their collaboration was awarded $17,750 to provide mental health support and resources for first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical responders, dispatch, hospital emergency room personnel, court advocates and counselors. A First Responders Committee composed of multiple local agencies has already begun collaborative efforts to provide training within the six-county 16th Judicial District. This grant will fund crisis debriefing and other trauma support for first responders and their families.
The Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc., which represents 26 licensed Community Mental Health Centers in Kansas, was awarded $53,175 to fund Training for Trainers in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Program with a primary goal of collaborating with local school districts to offer this training in “suicide first aid” to identified staff. Mental health centers will collaborate with school districts to make this training available to administrators, counselors and educators and will work directly with the Kansas State Department of Education.
The Tower Mental Health Foundation of Kansas was created as a result of an agreement between the attorney general’s office and the Menninger Foundation in 2007. It offers support to organizations that provide mental health services in Kansas. The attorney general is the sole member of the Foundation, which is staffed by the office of the attorney general. The Foundation’s board of directors is composed of nine Kansans with a keen interest in mental health issues. Dr. Walter Menninger serves as the Board’s president.
More information about the Tower Foundation is available at www.ag.ks.gov/tower.