Kansas lawmakers hear from mental health advocates

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KANSAS — Mental health advocates are asking lawmakers to spend money differently.

Advocates are telling lawmakers that funding for mental health is critical, but how the money is spent makes the difference.

Its Mental Health Advocacy Day at the capitol. Organizations and people that have benefited from services are discussing how to best serve kansans.

Mary Jones, Kansas Mental Health Coalition, said, “We need more funding for community resources including prevention efforts with children and suicide.”

Advocates are asking for money to be spent on community mental health centers instead of treatment in hospitals and jails.

Donavan Gardner, Mental Health Advocate, said, “We’re human, treat us like we’re human, and treat us like what we have going on with us is nothing bad, it’s something that can be treated, and it’s something that you can help with.”

Supporters say problems need to be addressed as soon as they arise – rather than letting mental problems develop over time.

Corinna West, Mental Health Advocate, said, “Recovery is less expensive than disability and making recovery happen is very simple.”

This session, lawmakers are debating multiple bills that would get mental health services to people faster.

Supporters say that if people are feeling like they need help, it’s always okay to reach out.

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