Governor Laura Kelly Makes Appointments for Recently Launched 988 Mental Health Lifeline

TOPEKA – After signing a bipartisan bill to fund the statewide suicide prevention hotline 988 earlier this year, Governor Laura Kelly today announced her appointments to the 988 Coordinating Council. The Council will advise the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) on the implementation of the 988 hotline.

This round of appointments are as follows:

  • Patrick Fucik, National Director of State Government Affairs for T-Mobile, Overland Park
  • Nicolas Wood, Associate Director of InterHab, Topeka
  • Monica Kurz, VP of External Programming, Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, Shawnee
  • Dr. Russell Klumpp, Major/Bureau Chief, Topeka Police Department, Berryton
  • Kenneth Nelson, GIS Section Manager at Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence

The Governor also made the following appointments to the board earlier this month:

  • Andy Brown, Behavioral Health Services for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Topeka
  • Sheriff Gene Ward, Sheriff of Seward County, Liberal
  • Zack Odell, Chief Executive Officer at S&T Communications, Colby
  • James “Paul” Davis, Director of Emergency Services for Johnson County, Gardner
  • Colin Thomasset, Chief Executive Officer at Wheat State Healthcare, Topeka
  • Molly Perkins, Case Manager with Johnson County Government Mental Health, Olathe

In June, Governor Kelly signed Senate Bill 19 to fund and regulate 988 as the official 24/7, three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. As of July 16, Kansans and all Americans can call 988 for help during mental health and substance abuse emergencies. The operation will be supported with $10 million in annual appropriations from the state and will be overseen by the 988 Coordinating Council.

“We are helping Kansans access the resources they need in times of crisis,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “988 is a critical step forward as we invest in improving our mental health system in Kansas and the entire nation. I am confident in my appointees to maintain this valuable resource as more Kansans begin to take advantage of it.”

9-8-8 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via call, text, or chat. All phone service providers are required to connect callers who dial 9-8-8 to the Lifeline.