News Releases and Media Advisories

KDADS’ Behavioral Health Services Commission Launches ‘Kansas COVID-19 Response’ Initiative

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2020

For more information, contact:
Cara Sloan-Ramos

TOPEKA The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services’ (KDADS) Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Commission has launched ‘Kansas COVID-19 Response,” a new $2 million initiative that uses short-term Emergency COVID-19 Grant funds received from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to respond to mental health and substance use disorder impacts during COVID-19.

The intent of Kansas COVID-19 Response initiative is to create or enhance the state’s crisis response infrastructure in partnership with Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas (ACMHCK), and a group of peer support and peer recovery organizations. 

“Kansas, like most other states, has seen an increase in the number of people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma or substance use going without access to mental health services over the last several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” BHS Commissioner Andy Brown said. “These emergency federal grant funds will allow us to mobilize and focus our efforts to develop a comprehensive plan to reach those who need it most right now.”

The initiative proposes to meet the needs of more than 10,000 adults and children with serious mental illness, people who may have co-occurring substance use disorder, and people with less severe mental health issues, including healthcare practitioners, resulting from the current COVID-19 crisis through the creation of a crisis response infrastructure to include expansion of telehealth, expanded crisis response services and enhanced recovery support services. 

Funds will be utilized as a financial last resort to support services to individuals who are:

  • Not covered by public or commercial health insurance programs
  • Not able to afford insurance coverage
  • Not covered sufficiently by their health insurance plan

All individuals served through the Kansas COVID-19 Response initiative will also meet with a Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Benefits Specialist to discover eligibility for other resources and services available.

KDADS hired a Kansas COVID-19 Response Project Director following the grant award notification who is responsible for guidance of the response, management of the project, collaboration with CMHCs and other partners, and reporting to SAMHSA.  

For full details about the initiative visit or for questions, contact Project Coordinator Shaun Dierker.