The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have selected Pawnee Mental Health Services and Riley County to participate in a national project exploring community behavioral health early warning systems, The Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE). Riley County is one of nine communities nationwide selected to participate in this project.
“Being selected as an Index Community for this project is a great opportunity to make a difference in the City of Manhattan and all of Riley County, and to contribute to a national initiative to benefit communities across the nation,” said Robbin Cole, Executive Director, Pawnee Mental Health Services.
A panel of 30 knowledgeable individuals in Riley County will offer their perspectives on local community mental health trends through bi-weekly surveys beginning this month and continuing through January, 2016. The Riley County Mental Health Task Force will participate with a local leadership team in reviewing the perspectives of the panel on a quarterly basis and helping identify community responses.
“Local governments and service agencies depend on government data to know what is going on in their communities, but that data is often two or three years old,” according to John Leatherman, professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University and the lead investigator for the project in Kansas. “This is an attempt to figure out what is happening in real time by sharing information and get ahead of emerging problems,” he said.
The local leadership team is made up of Leatherman and Cole, and includes Elaine Johannes, PhD, School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University and Karen Smothers, LSCSW, Pawnee Mental Health Services.