Mental Health First Aid Class in Clay Center Cancelled

CancellationThe Mental Health First Aid class scheduled for Friday, April 4 and Friday, April 11 in Clay Center has been cancelled due to low enrollment. We will reschedule a class in Clay Center at a later date if interest is expressed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

For information about Mental Health First Aid please contact Mary Heath at (785) 587-4300 or by email at

NAMI Kansas Walk

NAMI Walk LogoWhat Is The Walk?

The annual NAMI Kansas Walk is a way to help raise awareness in the community and fight the stigma of mental illness. It is also the main fundraising event for NAMI Kansas programs. Participants write letters or send emails to their friends and family members, to tell them how their lives have been personally affected by mental illness, and to ask them to help support NAMI Kansas by making a donation.

NAMI will have contests and prizes along the way for different fundraising and team-building goals.

Join the NAMI Kansas Walk on Saturday, May 3rd, at Gage Park, Topeka, KS (10:00 am check in, 11:00 am start time).  Demonstrate your support for NAMI Kansas and for those living with mental illness.

Click here to register

Thank You NAMI Kansas Walk Sponsors
Buckley Industries
Prairie Band
United Health Care
Bartlett & West
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Family Service and Guidance Center
Heritage Mental Health Center
Johnson County Mental Health Center
St Francis
Stormont Vail HealthCare
Prairie View Inc.
Bank of Blue Valley
Mize Houser
Crawford County Mental Health Center
Dr. Michael Reynolds DDS
Pawnee Mental Health Center
Quest Credit Union
The Center for Counseling and Consultation
Mert & Connie Buckley




Excellence ActWashington, DC – The U.S. Senate today passed legislation that included $900 million to fund the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act. The legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week as part of the Medicare SGR Repeal bill, establishes a two year demonstration program in eight states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use treatment services, including 24-hour crisis psychiatric services, while setting new standards for provider organizations.

“This represents the largest single federal investment in community-based mental and substance use treatment in well over a generation,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “After decades of devastating funding cuts, this represents a turning point in terms of federal support of community mental health services. As many as 240,000 people will be able to receive critical behavioral health services as a result of Excellence Act funding. Much work remains to ensure quality mental health and substance use treatment services are available to all who need them, but today is a day for celebrating this historic moment. And for applauding the bill’s tireless bipartisan champions, Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Blunt (R-MO) along with Representatives Matsui (D-CA) and Lance (R-NJ).”

“When people receive the quality mental health and substance use treatment they need, the benefits extend far beyond the individual – to their families, their professional colleagues and their community at large,” said Rosenberg. “We are all better off when quality mental health and substance use services are available.”

“Today’s vote is a landmark step forward in the effort to expand community mental health services for people living with mental illness and reduce the stigma around mental illness. This is a critically important issue that touches all of our families in some way and this legislation is one of the most significant steps in decades to expand access to care. I’m so thankful for the National Council for Behavioral Health’s strong support as we worked in a bipartisan way to strengthen mental health services,” said Senator Stabenow.

The National Council for Behavioral Health has long been a champion of the Excellence Act, which expands access to evidenced-based community health care for children and adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The legislation will reduce high hospital emergency room utilization among persons living with behavioral health conditions while easing the burden on hard-pressed law enforcement agencies in urban and rural areas. Additionally, the Excellence Act demonstration will assist the the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service-connected mental disorders, including clinical depression and PTSD.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000 member organizations, we serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. We are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained nearly 150,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities. Learn more at

Pawnee Offers Mental Health First Aid in Clay Center, KS

MHFA feb 2014Pawnee Mental Health Services is offering Mental Health First Aid on Friday, April 4 and Friday, April 11 from 1pm – 5pm at the Clay County Medical Center. Mental Health First Aid is an eight hour class that teaches a layperson how to assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. The cost of the course is $25.00 per person.

For additional information contact Mary Heath at (785) 587-4300 or by email at

Community Mental Health Center Day at the Capitol

Shannon Hughston, Pawnee's Marketing and Development Manager

Shannon Hughston, Pawnee’s Marketing and Development Manager

We had a great day at the Community Mental Health Center Day at the Capitol.  Several of our legislators stopped by our display, in addition to many other visitors and workers who were in the Capitol that day.  We were especially pleased that Governor Brownback took a moment to stop by and offer his appreciation for the services provided by Pawnee Mental Health Services and the other Community Mental Health Centers across our state.

Mental Health First Aid – 2014 Course Dates

Mental Health First Aid - march 2014Pawnee Mental Health Services announces our 2014 course schedule for Mental Health First Aid.  Mental Health First Aid is an 8 hour training course designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experieinceing a mental health crisis.  Click  for a brochure that contains course dates and an enrollment form.

For additional information contact Mary Heath at (785) 587-4300 or by email at


Pawnee Receives Funding for Youth Mental Health First Aid

MHFA feb 2014The Tower Mental Health Foundation awarded The Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas $30,000 to fund staff training in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Program. Pawnee Mental Health Services received $1,000 of the funding from the Association of Community Mental Health Centers.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members,  teachers, school staff, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorder, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders

For more information about Youth Mental Health First Aid contact our office (785) 587-4300.

Cole presents to the Concordia Community Needs Forum

March 4, 2014 from the Sisters of St. Joseph website:

Robbin Concordia Presentation 03042014As executive director of the 10-county Pawnee Mental Health Services, Robbin Cole understands the “big picture” of mental health services across Kansas. But she also recognizes the specific issues for individual and more rural communities like Concordia that are served by her agency.

At Tuesday’s “working lunch” at the Nazareth Motherhouse, she talked about both.


This was the 25th working lunch, a part of the Community Needs Forum that grew out of informal lunches with the Sisters of St. Joseph in the fall of 2008. Through those informal conversations and local statistics, the sisters prepared a report on “community needs” that was presented at the first working lunch in January 2009 — and the top priority on that list was the need for mental health services in Concordia and throughout Cloud County.

Cole, who has headed Pawnee since 2006, explained many of the services her agency offers, especially at its center in Concordia.

But throughout her presentation, she kept returning to one theme:  The challenge of a growing need for mental health services at the same time that cuts to funding and staff make access to those services more and more difficult.

In substance abuse, for example, she said, “Treatment options are very limited and there are long waiting lists, particularly if you don’t have insurance or money.”

The availability of psychiatric medical services is even worse, she said.

“There’s a real crisis when it comes to access to psychiatric care in the state of Kansas,” Cole said. “Our medical schools graduate 11 to 13 psychiatric physicians a year, and even if they all stay in Kansas, a few of them are child psychiatrists, and those focused on adult psychiatry are replacing doctors who retire or leave the state. Eleven to 13 is just not enough.”

Other states that are predominantly rural face the same challenge — and in very rural areas within rural states, it means access to psychiatric care is almost nonexistent.

“It’s very challenging to recruit psychiatric physicians to Concordia,” she said, to chuckles from the audience of more than 50 gathered at the Motherhouse.

Yet Pawnee is determined to provide as much service as possible, Cole emphasized.

In 2013, the agency served more than 6,600 clients — including 540 in Concordia. Pawnee has 230 employees across its 10-county service area, with 35 of those based in Cloud County.

The agency offers a wide range of outpatient mental health services for children, teens and adults, as well as treatment for substance abuse. Many of its programs are designed for people looking for short-term help with general mental health issues, but it also offers services for people with serious mental health or substance abuse issues.

In addition to Concordia, Pawnee has offices across North-Central Kansas, including Beloit and Belleville.

One way Pawnee is working to ensure access to mental health services is through a training program called “Mental Health First Aid.”

“It’s like a first aid class through the Red Cross to learn CPR,” Cole explained, “except that this first aid is for mental health issues; it gives you the training to help someone in a mental health crisis.”

The eight-hour workshops are scheduled throughout Pawnee’s service area, with sessions in Concordia scheduled for May and August. To learn more, call 785/587-4300 or email

Fittell Receives Certification

Good News Note (2)John Fittell, LSCSW Therapy and Evaluation Services therapist at Pawnee Mental Health Services, has completed the “Serving our Veterans Behavioral Health Certification” in Relias Learning.

The Veterans Behavioral Health Certificate courses help licensed therapists improve cultural and clinical competencies needed to work with military personnel and families.

Mr. Fittell has been a therapist with Pawnee Mental Health Services since 2011.  He sees patients in Pawnee’s Junction City office.