Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

The Kansas Mental Health Coalition is working 
to improve mental health in Kansas

 

The Kansas Mental Health Coalition (KMHC) is a collaborative organization of numerous non-profit organizations, agencies and individuals representing consumers, families, and providers dedicated to improving the lives of Kansans with mental illness.

 

KMHC is organized as a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization. KMHC is a coalition of over 60 consumer and family advocacy agencies, provider associations, direct mental health service agencies, mental health advocacy agencies, pharmaceutical companies and others, all of whom share this common mission.

 

Within the format of monthly roundtable meetings, participants forge a consensus agenda which provides the basis for public education and advocacy efforts each year. This design leverages greater collaborative support and amplifies the voice of people with mental illness in these public education efforts. The result of this consensus building is greater success for our common goals.

 

Further, the organization facilitates communication within the Kansas mental health system regarding developing needs and updates on programs and issues.

History and Membership

The Coalition was developed informally in the 1970’s by a dozen or so former state hospital patients, family members and mental health agencies to support mental health reform and encourage the development of community services that could be accessed by any Kansan needing mental health treatment.  Members have engaged in mental health policy issues throughout three decades.  The organization was incorporated in its current form in 2004.

 

Membership is open to any consumer, family member, individual, professional, agency or corporation who is interested in collaborating with other Coalition members to improve the lives of Kansans with mental illness.  Meetings are dedicated to gathering information from guest speakers, networking, and learning from one another.

The Coalition reaches out to other private and public agencies, the media and the general public to promote common issues of interest. These have included mental health services, access to comprehensive and effective community based treatment for children and adults, and access to high quality inpatient treatment. 

The Coalition was a driving force for educating the public on the need to improve insurance coverage for adults and children covered by private insurance and the state employees’ health care plan throughout the late 1990’s.  These public education efforts lead in 2001 to Kansas joining the growing consensus of states that have mental health parity for insurance coverage.  The Kansas Mental Health Coalition has been a catalyst for educating the public and other partners on issues to protect and advance the rights of people with mental illness. 

The Coalition also promoted the amendment to the Kansas constitution in 2010.  Until the November 2010 election, the Kansas Constitution had given the Legislature the authority to pass laws that could prevent people with mental illness from voting. On Election Day, a majority of Kansas voters took that authority away by casting their ballots for Amendment No. 2. This result sent a strong message that discrimination against people with mental illness will not be tolerated.

Each year, the Coalition carries the message to the Kansas Legislature that sufficient funding and accountability is crucial for both community based mental health treatment and inpatient care.  These efforts are supported by active member engagement in the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council and the Hospital to Home group.  Last year, efforts were expanded to include various planning committees for the KanCare medicaid reform effort.

 

 

 

 


(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4103, Topeka, KS  66604-0103         785-969-1617

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