mental health services | KCUR

mental health services

Vladimir Sainte

Mental health experts say that even people who remain physically healthy throughout the COVID-19 epidemic are already experiencing high levels of trauma, which will be with them long after the spread of the virus is under control.

"This is a stressful time that we have little control over," says Kortney Carr, a local therapist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. She worries that many of us are unaware of how we're processing that trauma. 

Stephanie McCabe / Unsplash

We know very little about how the coronavirus pandemic will play out in Kansas City. That’s making a lot of people really anxious.

“I see uncertainty as the core of the panic that we’re seeing right now,” says Katie Kriegshauser, director of the Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment.

Most people under quarantine in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak started, didn't end up getting COVID-19. They did, however, develop high levels of anxiety, isolation and psychological distress.

Chelsea Engstrom / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's 90-bed emergency homeless shelter will close in early April if it cannot raise $1 million, according to its CEO.

Stephanie Boyer said that sum would not keep reStart open forever, and would not reinstate the agency's unique, comprehensive support services for residents, which would require millions of dollars more.

“As far back as I can really tell, this 90-bed program has always lacked appropriate funding,” said Boyer, who took over the 39-year-old agency in January 2019.

Segment 1: Just because mental health services exist, doesn't mean that access to them is equitable.

As many as 56% of adults in the U.S. report that they are unable to receive the treatment they need for their mental illness, and there's no quick fix for the obstacles in their way. Organizations in Kansas City sare working to reach everyone who needs help, but they have a long way to go.

Segment 1: "Kansas City wants to end homelessness," said Josh Henges.

The Veterans Community Project gained national attention in 2018 by using tiny homes to help end veteran homelessness in Kansas City. Two years later and the initiative has expanded to several other states. 

Segment 2, beginning at 24:16: Can mushrooms save Earth?

Alex Smith / KCUR

Starting treatment with a mental health specialist often requires a wait of several weeks, but many psychiatrists and other specialists in Kansas City have waiting lists stretching over months.

While the need for mental health treatment has been growing in Missouri, many patient advocates say the state’s refusal to aggressively enforce mental health parity may be making the wait times even longer.

Marty Sexton, a 50-year-old disabled grandfather who lives in Peculiar, worked as a firefighter and then an army medic in Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Enduring Freedom.

Segment 1: One oncologist says cancer research is not progressing, and she offers new ideas.

Dr. Azra Raza says the public believes cancer research and treatments are advancing, but that's not the case. The death rate from the most common cancers is no lower now than it was 5o years ago. She suggests an alternative to radition and chemotherapy and says more interdisciplinary collaboration could advance the cause.

Courtest of Melanie Arroyo

Latinos seek help for mental health issues at half the rate of non-Hispanic whites. Yet when they do, as with other people of color in Kansas City, they can have more difficulty finding providers with a similar cultural background. 

Segment 1: Nursing homes in Kansas can be a "black hole" for people with mental illness 

Red flags are being raised about a lack of mental health resources in Kansas, and the affect it's having on people's ability to move into independent living situations. In that state, patients who don't need to be institutionalized but aren't quite ready for independence sometimes end up in nursing homes. The problem is keeping that stop-gap measure from becoming permanent.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

VALLEY FALLS, Kansas — Dennis Ritchey stands in the kitchen of his modest apartment. He calls it efficient, but likes that it has plenty of cabinets.

Segment 1: A former Lenexa principal wants others suffering from mental illness to learn from the mistakes he made trying to handle his depression.

Diagnosed with major depressive disorder, Cory Strathman resigned from his job as an elementary school principal following a DUI arrest. Now receiving mental health care services, Strathman is sharing his battle in hopes to eliminate the social stigma that kept him from receiving care.

Segment 1: Why the Federal Emergency Managment Agency recommends flood coverage for everyone.

Flooding occurs in 90% of natural disasters in the United States, according to FEMA, and a quarter of all flood claims come from low-risk areas. We cover common questions about what is and isn't covered by flood and homeowners insurance, and discuss what the future of flood insurance might look like.

Focus Features

Segment 1: River of Refuge is a nonprofit organization that helps transition homeless families into permanent housing.

Courtesy / Creative Commons

The merriment and mirth it's assumed we experience during the holiday season can lead to disappointment, anxiety and, in some cases, depression.

The American Psychological Association reports that the expectation of  “gift-giving, decorating, feasting and family gathering" can lead to holiday-related stress or the "holiday blues."