Governor Kelly Announces Kansas to Receive More than $5.4M to Improve 9-8-8 Capacity

– Governor Laura Kelly announced today that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) is receiving more than $5.4 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Over three years, this funding will build local capacity for the 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and related crisis services.

“These funds are critical to ensure we have the staff and resources to address the mental health crisis in Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Another funding avenue would be expanding Medicaid, which is already the primary payer of behavioral health services in the United States. By expanding Medicaid, we could leverage that tool to support mental health care services further.”

The States and Territories to Improve Local 9-8-8 Capacity program will provide nearly $1.9 million in the first year and nearly $1.8 million in the following two years to improve response to 9-8-8 contacts — calls, chats, and texts — originating in Kansas. This funding will support the program’s goals of increasing workforce support for the growing 9-8-8 demand through hiring, recruiting, and training; improving the public communication of 9-8-8 services, including those for high-risk populations; and continuing to expand post-contact support connections with services such as mobile crisis outreach and crisis stabilization services to ensure adults and youth experiencing mental health crisis receive faster access to trained mental health professionals.

“Crisis support and access to mental health care and ensuring more people in crisis get the help and support they need is increasingly critical for Kansans,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard said. “Applying for and being selected to receive this new additional 9-8-8 funding reflects our state’s commitment to build on the crisis care framework we have been and continue to develop and strengthen it to provide increased access across our communities.”

Among other benefits, funding provided through this program will afford Kansas the ability to recruit, hire, and train additional staff to ensure state contact centers can collect and report monthly data on contacts that result in emergency rescue, suicide attempts in progress, and mobile crisis outreach referrals.

KDADS currently partners with three National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) contact centers for 24/7 coverage of 9-8-8 calls, chats, and texts. The NSPL contact centers are Johnson County Community Mental Health (JCCMH), Sedgwick County (Comcare responds to NSPL calls), and Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ (KSPHQ). Additionally, Wyandot Behavioral Health Network Inc. is in the process of gaining certification as a contact center, and HealthSource Integrated Services (HIS) serves as a statewide backup contact center.

KDADS will partner with Comcare, JCCMHC, KSPHQ, Wyandot Behavioral Health Network, and HealthSource for this program.

In July 2022, 9-8-8 became the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-273-TALK (8255).