Kansas governor addresses mental health in state, tours COMCARE of Sedgwick County

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 6:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly was in Wichita on Thursday, touring COMCARE of Sedgwick County to learn how the state can help increase access to mental healthcare.

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans are struggling with mental health than ever before.

“I got anxiety, real bad depression, suicidal things. I’ve thought about suicide more in the last six months than I ever have in my whole life, just because I don’t know what to do with it anymore,” said Eugene Alberto, a Wichita man receiving help from COMCARE as he’s struggled to find work.

Alberto is far from alone. The pandemic and record-high unemployment is leading to a spike in demand for mental health services across the country.

“It’s hard to find a job. I go to COMCARE. I’ve been to the crisis center a lot this year,” Alberto said.

At the local, state and national levels there is heightened awareness about mental health and pushes to openly discuss it. Still, for many, mental health remains a taboo topic.

Mental health professionals remind anyone struggling that help is only a call away.

You can reach COMCARE’S 24-hour Crisis Line at 316-660-7500. The organization’s support line is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Anyone that is struggling with the financial pressures that may have had some low-grade depression or anxiety in the past, and all these economic and social issues have challenged them even further,” said COMCARE of Sedgwick County Executive Director Joan Tammany.

To keep up with demand, COMCARE is expanding telehealth services, and the state is exploring options for how to increase access to mental health services.

“The support we can provide there will supplement the mental health support folks will get through COMCARE,” Kelly said.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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