Davids Gathers WyCo Leaders to Discuss $750K in Mental Health Funds

Published on May 29, 2024

5.29.24 Rep Davids Mental Health Roundtable

Original Press Release: May 29, 2024 
Release Source: Davids Discusses Impact of Her Secured Funding to Improve Kansans’ Mental Health, Support Law Enforcement | Representative Sharice Davids (house.gov)


KANSAS CITY, KS - Today, Representative Sharice Davids hosted a conversation with Wyandotte County law enforcement officers, public health experts, and city officials to discuss the impact of her federal funding to improve individuals’ mental health and support law enforcement. The Davids-secured $750,000 is helping the Wyandotte County Public Health Department (WyCo PHD) hire co-responders, trained mental health professionals who work alongside police officers to respond to incidents involving individuals experiencing mental health crises.

“Mental health is a growing concern for families and communities across the country, so I’m thankful to have worked with the Wyandotte County Public Health Department to support folks’ mental well-being throughout the county,” said Davids. “Their co-responder pilot program has been incredibly successful, both helping people in crisis and ensuring law enforcement can adequately protect our communities. I was glad to learn more about these achievements and look forward to the continued impact.”

“The work done by co-responders is tremendously valuable to the community because we are able to respond to acute emergencies where people are in need and in crisis,” said Philip Mathis, CIT Officer, Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD). “Our team is able to meet people where they’re at and provide community connection with the hopes that its long lasting and that they’re able to get the services they need to better their health and lives.”

"Many people in Wyandotte County face barriers to accessing behavioral health care due to high uninsurance rates and a mental health provider ratio of 1 for every 560 residents,” said Hannah Conner, Social Epidemiologist, Wyandotte County Public Health Department. “The Congressional funding secured by Representative Davids provides an opportunity to connect our most vulnerable community members to much-needed behavioral health support. We are happy to see so many amazing partners involved in this life-changing initiative and eager to see this project progress over the next several months."

“I would like to thank Representative Davids for her continued support to this community,” said Karl A. Oakman, Chief of Police, Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD). “This funding will assist the KCKPD with an additional tool to continue our three-year decline in violent crime and build stronger community partnerships that focus on mental health.”

Thanks to Davids’ funding request, WyCo PHD has expanded the Wyandot Behavioral Health Network's Integrating Mental and Behavioral Health Resources pilot program. The program provides a comprehensive response to the high rates of mental illness seen in Wyandotte community members involved in the justice system. Specifically, the funding has allowed them to hire or maintain staffing of co-responders in police and sheriff departments, mental health outreach staff, and court liaisons who ensure that youth are referred to mental health services as an alternative to time in jail when appropriate.

The WyCo PHD project was one of 14 Davids-requested projects that passed Congress in 2022, totaling $31.2 million for Kansas’ Third District. This year, Davids announced she secured $15.8 million for 15 impactful projects in the district. Each of the projects were submitted in tandem with local officials and selected for their potential to improve health and safety in the community, bring economic opportunity to the Third District, and tackle climate change.

Davids has focused on improving mental health care since taking office. She has helped secure funding for mental health programs in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties, and has advocated for stronger mental health supports in schools. Her legislation to renew federal mental health grant programs for health centers, schools, and law enforcement passed the House last year. She also introduced bipartisan legislation to improve opioid misuse prevention among student athletes and additional legislation to improve mental health supports for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth.

Davids encourages Kansans who are struggling or in crisis to call or text the new national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, 988.

5/29/2024 - Roundtable Photos

5.29.24 Rep Davids Mental Health Roundtable

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