Kansas spending on mental health services went from $115 million in 2009 to $97 million in 2011, a 16-percent decrease.
Kansas is among 34 states that have cut a total $1.8 billion, despite the need for mental health services increasing because of economic distress and troops returning home from war.
“Budget cuts mean people don’t get the right help in the right place at the right time,” said former Community Bridge guest Rick Cagan, executive director of NAMI Kansas to the Kansas City Star. “Local communities suffer and families break under the strain.”
Community Bridge takes up this issue in our second hour with Robbin Cole, Executive Director of Pawnee Mental Health on how Brownback's budget cuts to mental health services are hurting Kansans in need of mental health services in Manhattan and across the state.
At half past the hour, we are joined by Rev. Tobais Schlingensiepen, paster of First Congregational Church in Topeka, and Rev. Trudy Cretsinger, former pastor of Trinity Luthern Church in Topeka, representing Kansas families served by the Kansas Neurological Institute, another service Sam Brownback has deemed too costly for the state to continued to support. For fiscal year 2010, KNI's operational budget was $29 million, of which $16.5 million came from the federal government through Medicaid funds. State appropriations amounted to $10 million. KNI serves around 160 Kansans, the majority (83%) are aged between 30 and 59; 88 percent have a profound intellectual disability; 83 percent are unable to speak and the remainder have very limited speech abilities; 68 percent are unable to walk; and, 94 percent have lived at KNI for 10 years or more. But for Sam Brownback these people do not deserve to be care for by the state.