Mental Health

Free Mental Health First Aid training offered

By Mark Wiebe, Wyandot Inc. Public Affairs Director

On July 10, the Metropolitan Council of Community Mental Health Centers will host a Mental Health First Aid ‘Day.’ This first-ever opportunity for the Kansas City area will be offered at no cost to the public thanks to funding from the Health Care Foundation and the Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund.

Our aim is to certify more than 250 Kansas Citians in the adult or youth version of the course and increase the ranks of people trained to respond to a mental health crisis. In the process, we hope to add momentum to an already robust conversation about mental health in the region.

Hunger is a major culprit in health problems

By Bridget McCandless, President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

A recent study showed that there was an increase at the end of the the month in the number of visits to the emergency room from low-income patients who had low blood sugar.

As a physician who treats diabetic patients, this increase doesn’t surprise me as people try to manage their diabetes with fewer food resources at that time of month.

Food insecurity means not having regular access to an adequate quantity of nutritious food, and it is a real problem for many in our area. In the HCF service area, there are approximately 230,000 people facing food insecurity.

On mental health and poverty: The new Rainbow to offer 'port of calm,' 'port of access'

By Mark Wiebe, Wyandot Inc. public affairs director

In Sunday's New York Times, a headline on the op/ed page underscored one of the central challenges in mental health and criminal justice circles: How do we reduce the number of people with mental illness in our jails and prisons? The column, "Inside a Mental Health Hospital Called Jail," profiles Cook County Jail in Chicago, where some 60 percent of the inmates on a given day are diagnosed with a mental illness.

On mental health and poverty: Suicide prevention 'everyone's business'

By Mark Wiebe, Wyandot Inc. public affairs director

When I was a young teen-ager, a friend of mine lost his mother to suicide. I didn't know her well, mostly through the carpool our mothers participated in. But I do remember she always seemed upbeat and chatty, and that she whistled a lot as she drove us to and from school.

I'm ashamed to admit it now, but I don't recall ever saying a word to my friend about his mother's death. Not one single "How are you doing?" or "What can I do to help?"

Could schools take on more mental health responsibilities?

By Mike Sherry, HCF guest blogger and KHI News Service journalist

I have heard talk recently about relying more on schools to treat, diagnose and de-stigmatize mental illness.

For instance, participants at a recent mental health summit in Kansas City, Mo., suggested several ways districts could help address the mental health needs of youths and young adults.

Ideas from the summit included incorporating mental health screenings and adding licensed counselors in schools.

Disparities also reflected in mental health cost data

By Mike Sherry, HCF guest blogger and KHI News Service journalist

Though they share a border, Johnson and Wyandotte counties often occupy different ends of the spectrum when it comes to health rankings.

Wealthy Johnson County typically outshines its working class neighbor to the north, as is the case with the annual report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

National dialogues provide a platform for those affected by mental illness

Mary KettlewellBy Mary Kettlewell, HCF program officer

I was privileged to participate in the National Mental Health Dialogue held in Kansas City last weekend. President Obama launched this effort, with events being held in 10 cities across the country