Governor Laura Kelly signs legislation creating a hotline for suicide prevention and mental health crises


Written by: Press Release Posted by David Elliott
Publication date: 06-02-2022

Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that creates the state’s Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline and Behavioral Health Response Teams.

Kansans will soon be able to call 988 for help during a mental health emergency.

“The creation of the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline will provide Kansans with immediate access to trained mental health care providers during times of crisis,” Governor Kelly said. “There is no doubt that having mobile crisis teams within phone reach will save lives.”

The 988 hotline will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Centers network.

“Better access to crisis support services for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) will help address some of the system issues we have had in our state for a long time,” said Nick Wood, associate director of ‘InterHab. “Behavioral health crises among populations with IDD represent only a small fraction of all psychiatric and substance abuse emergencies, but they are often high impact and can severely disrupt a person’s life. When a crisis situation arises, bringing in a professional who understands DID conditions such as autism and how it manifests can help avoid a fatal or traumatic interaction.”

Mobile Crisis Teams are created through partnerships between behavioral health professionals and others who provide professional and community-based crisis intervention services, which include de-escalation and stabilization for Kansans experiencing a crisis of behavioral health.

“The recent passage of SB 19 – the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Infrastructure Bill – is monumental to the State of Kansas and the mental health community, allowing our centers crisis calls to better meet the needs of Kansans across the state,” Ryan Reza, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kansas, said. “The 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline will change the way organizations like NAMI Kansas operate in Kansas, creating new avenues for mental health actors to help Kansans in need.”

Governor Kelly also signed House Bill 2540which updates the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

“Updates to Kansas’ controlled substances law are critical to ensuring public health and safety by ensuring new drugs are properly protected and available to Kansas patients,” said Alexandra Blasi, executive secretary. of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy. “In addition, dangerous illicit substances known to cause harm are listed in Schedule I to ensure that law enforcement can hold accountable those who traffic in these substances. Amendments are proposed each year as as a joint recommendation of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.A key part of this legislation is the advance planning of any FDA-approved drugs containing THC or other cannabinoids.There are a number of products currently in clinical trials that are expected to be submitted for FDA approval in the months and years to come be among the first to allow these drugs to be legally prescribed in our state if and when the FDA deems them safe and effective.”

(Information courtesy of the Governor’s Office.)

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