photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo
Douglas County has been awarded a $450,000 grant that will help support behavioral health crisis treatment over the next three years.
The Douglas County Commission is scheduled to accept the Sunflower Foundation Health Care for Kansas Grant as part of its meeting Wednesday. The grant will go to support the county’s integrated system of care for mental health crisis and other behavioral health issues.
The grant period begins this year and will run through 2024; it will help fund multiple positions. A county staff memo to the commission states the grant will ensure Douglas County has the workforce needed to continue its behavioral health work and the goal of providing “an integrated system of care that moves from crisis and illness as a norm to prevention and recovery as a practice.”
The annual breakdown of costs for the three-year grant period is as follows:
• $25,000 per year will help support a psychiatric resident rotation at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center in partnership with the University of Kansas Medical School. The residency will expand psychiatric treatment services for individuals with serious mental illness in Douglas County while building the psychiatric service provider pipeline within the region. The total cost of the program is $100,000 per year, 75% of which will be covered by Bert Nash and the remainder by the grant.
• $75,000 per year will support a registered nurse to serve on the county’s new multi-agency Assertive Community Treatment Team. The ACT team is part of the integrated treatment model identified by the county’s Behavioral Health Leadership Coalition as a best practice for treating and preventing behavioral health crises. The ACT Team model relies on cross-training for all team members, which include mental health professionals, psychiatrists, nurses and substance abuse treatment specialists. Salaries for other positions for the ACT Team are being covered by Douglas County, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Heartland Community Health Center and DCCCA.
• $50,000 per year will support ongoing research, publishing, technical assistance and data analysis by the Behavioral Health Leadership Coalition’s data sharing collaborative. The collaborative is convened by Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, and funds may also be used to support Douglas County’s implementation of the Built for Zero model, which aims to eliminate chronic homelessness and integrate peer support across the behavioral health care system.
Douglas County residents voted in 2018 to approve a quarter-cent sales tax to support the creation of a behavioral health campus, which is nearing completion at 1000 W. Second St. The campus includes transitional and supportive housing and a 20,000-square-foot treatment and recovery center.
The Douglas County Commission will convene at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. Residents can participate in the meeting in person, virtually or via phone, and more information about those options is available at douglascountyks.org/commission/meetings.