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Kansas cut mental health spending more than most states

A new report shows Kansas is among 10 other states that have made the deepest cuts to mental health spending and that those reductions could lead to more risks for a growing number of people with mental illnesses, according to The Kansas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kansas trimmed mental health spending by about 12 percent over the past four years, the nonprofit mental health advocacy group reported.

The report is based on data for non-Medicaid mental health services financed by state general funds through the state’s mental health agencies.

NAMI Kansas Executive Director Rick Cagan said state cuts go beyond what the report shows. He said data shows cuts to mental health reform grants, Medicaid, MedKan, community support medication program and funds for non-Medicaid psychiatric inpatient screenings.

John Brennan, a Wichita lawyer and member of the NAMI Kansas Board of Directors, said people with serious mental illness face challenges in getting services.

“We have to make up for lost ground,” he said in a prepared statement.

In 2006, the group gave Kansas an F on its national report card. It upgraded Kansas to a D in 2009.

Here’s an Associated Press story with a national perspective.