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Mental Health

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Johnson County Mental Health Center

Johnson County Mental Health Center is the gateway to mental health in Johnson County, providing a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to county residents. 

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Department News

JCMHC, USD 231 selected for national pilot of tMHFA
September 9, 2019

Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) and Gardner Edgerton School District, USD 231 were selected as one of only 35 in sites in the country to participate in a national pilot of teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA). The National Council for Behavioral Health made the selection with support from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to offer tMHFA to all tenth graders in Gardner Edgerton High School. The training is the first of its kind developed for high school students in the U.S. 

“We are thrilled to introduce teen Mental Health First Aid to our community,” said USD 231 District Superintendent Pam Stranathan. “The program will teach high school students to recognize and respond when their friends are experiencing the early stages of a mental health or addiction concern.”

tMHFA is an in-person training designed for high school students to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, particularly how to identify and respond to a developing mental health or substance use problem among their peers. Similar to CPR, students learn a 5-step action plan to help their friends who may be facing a mental health problem or crisis, such as suicide. 

The course specifically highlights the important step of involving a responsible and trusted adult. To ensure additional support for students taking the training, Gardner Edgerton School District has also trained over 500 staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid, which is a specialized training in conjunction with tMHFA, for adults working with young people.

“We’re thrilled Gardner Edgerton High School is one of the first U.S. high schools to participate in teen Mental Health First Aid,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Teens trust their friends, so they need to be trained to recognize signs of mental health or substance use problems in their peers. The number one thing a teen can do to support a friend dealing with anxiety or depression is to help the friend seek support from a trusted adult.”

“With teen Mental Health First Aid, we like to say, it’s okay to not be okay,” said Lady Gaga, co-founder of Born This Way Foundation, as she spoke with 16 students who completed the first tMHFA pilot in eight schools across the country. “Together, Born This Way and the National Council have put this program in eight schools. I know for certain that I’m not stopping here,” Lady Gaga continued. “I want the teen Mental Health First Aid program in every school in this country.”

“Through this pilot, Johnson County Mental Health Center is taking an important step towards ensuring that students are able to recognize when a friend or peer might be struggling and to feel confident that they know what to do to help,” said Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation. “Knowing how to spot the signs that someone in our lives is experiencing a mental health challenge and understanding how we can support that person is a basic life skill we all need to have – especially teenagers.”

tMHFA is an evidence-based training program from Australia. The National Council adapted the training with support from Born This Way Foundation and Well Being Trust. The pilot program is being evaluated by researchers from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health to assess its effectiveness. The training will be made available to the public following analysis of the pilot study. 

Johnson County Mental Health Center Partners with EVERFI to Bring Mental Health Education to Schools Across Johnson County
August 26, 2019

Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) today announced a new program to bring critical mental health education to schools across Johnson County, Kansas. Starting in the 2019-20 academic year, JCMHC will be providing the digital resource, Mental Wellness Basics to all public and private schools in Johnson County - at no cost to schools. 

The new course, Mental Wellness Basics, introduces students to the experiences of others in order to develop awareness and empathy, reduce stigma and provide facts on the prevalence and symptoms of mental health conditions. The course was developed by EVERFI Inc.

“While there is broad recognition that mental health is a critical issue for youth, educators and counselors need diverse strategies to empower as many students as possible with the skills to support themselves and their peers,” said Tim DeWeese, Director of Johnson County Mental Health Center. “We are excited to partner with EVERFI in the development and implementation of programming to expand critical health literacy for thousands of Johnson County students.”

In addition to providing Mental Wellness Basics, JCMHC will now serve as the fiscal agent for the existing high school education program focused on alcohol abuse prevention, AlcoholEdu. These interactive digital resources, developed by EVERFI Inc., bring alcohol abuse prevention and mental wellness education to students in 8th through 12th grade.

“At EVERFI, we’re compelled to address the growing need for mental health and alcohol abuse prevention education by providing scalable solutions that deliver essential skills to students,” said EVERFI Co-founder and President of Global Partnerships Jon Chapman. “We are proud to collaborate with Johnson County Mental Health Center to support health literacy for the future leaders of Kansas and beyond.” 

Johnson County Mental Health Center is closely working with the Zero Reasons Why Teen Council to further drive course implementation in schools and bring awareness of the program to peers across the county.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, while 17.3 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode in 2017. In the same year 13 percent of Kansas youth reported they had at least one major depressive episode in the 12 months prior to the survey according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A recent Pew Research study stated 70 percent of teens nationwide identify anxiety and depression as a major problem among people their age. 

Johnson County Mental Health Center earns maximum accreditation
June 7, 2019

CARF International has issued a Three-Year Accreditation to Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) for several of its programs after an extensive evaluation process. JCMHC is one of only two Community Mental Health Centers in Kansas with this recognition. The accreditation recognizes that JCMHC is guided by internationally recognized service standards and best practices.

“We’re very excited about this accreditation,” said Tim DeWeese, JCMHC director. “This demonstrates that we’ve made a specific commitment to put the needs of our residents at the center of everything we do.”

The accreditation process began with an internal review of program and business practices. Then a survey team of CARF-selected expert practitioners performed an onsite visit to review these practices and collect feedback from clients, community members, staff and key stakeholders.

“The survey team specifically remarked about the positive work culture we have here,” said JCMHC Deputy Director Susan Rome. “Their written report highlighted our commitment to person-centeredness and focusing on the strengths of each and every person. This speaks to the work of staff at every level of our organization.”

The accreditation applies specifically to these services: mental health case management for children, adolescents and adults; mental health crisis stabilization for adults; mental health outpatient treatment for children, adolescents and adults; and residential alcohol and other drug treatment at the Adolescent Center for Treatment. The accreditation extends through April 30, 2022.

“One of the requirements of this accreditation,” said DeWeese, “is a commitment to continual process improvement. This means an ongoing emphasis on reducing risk, addressing safety concerns, respecting cultural and individual preferences and providing the best quality of care.”

CARF International was founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. It is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. 

School Board approves clinical co-responder position, partnership with Johnson County Mental Health
May 7, 2019

Gardner, Kansas (May 7, 2019) – The School Board for Unified School District 231 voted last night to approve a memorandum of understanding with Johnson County Mental Health Center for a full-time clinical co-responder embedded within the school district.

The co-responder will work in the school district, but will be a full-time employee of Johnson County Mental Health Center. The program allows Johnson County Mental Health Center to provide immediate assistance to students in need during a crisis situation. The position will be filled in July 2019.

“We are excited to be able to offer this support and service to our students and their families and our staff members. We are thankful for the relationship that has been developed between USD 231 and Johnson County Mental Health Center. By partnering together, we are better able to meet the needs of our community" said USD 231 Superintendent Pam Stranathan.

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved the memorandum of understanding on Thursday, May 2. The arrangement will be a one year pilot with the potential to expand to other school districts in the county if the data reflects the anticipated impact. The county will continue to develop and track key performance indicators to determine if the pilot is a success.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with a school district in this way,” said Johnson County Mental Health Center Director Tim DeWeese, “It takes the community working together to end the stigma and start the necessary conversations about mental health in teens and adolescents.”

The school board approved $78,500 to fund the position during the 2019 – 2020 school year. Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved the rest of the funding for the position using both mental health funding sources and some county tax support.

The Co-Responder Program began in 2011 with a pilot with the City of Olathe Police Department. Now, most communities in Johnson County have a co-responder embedded within their police department.

New pilot program offers mental health services to infants and their families
April 29, 2019

Johnson County Mental Health Center is piloting Attachment & Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) for infants aged 6 – 24 months and their families. ABC strengthens a parent’s relations with his or her child, while helping the child to learn to regulate behaviors and emotions.

“This program is our first truly preventative program for children,” said Tim DeWeese, director of Johnson County Mental Health Center. “We know that children who face early attachment challenges are at greater risk for behavioral, emotional and physiological problems as they age. This program helps us reduce that risk.”

ABC consists of an intake assessment and ten weekly one-hour sessions in the home with the child and his or her parents. Certified ABC clinicians provide feedback to the parents as the parents learn to nurture their child and follow their child’s lead. The program is open to any family who may be considered “at risk,” based on the parents’ history or early experiences for the infant.

“The feedback we give to parents would actually be helpful to any parent,” said Division Director Janie Yannacito, one of the two ABC certified clinicians. “Many of these parents are used to being told what they’re doing wrong. This program emphasizes what they’re doing right.”

The program was developed by Dr. Mary Dozier at the University of Delaware. Yannacito and Case Manager Rachael Perez were certified in ABC in February, after going through a rigorous screening and training process. Since the program is a pilot, it is offered without charge. Families or referring organizations interested in the program can contact Yannacito at 913-826-1540 or Perez at 913-826-1522.

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Thu, 09/19/2019 - 8:30am

ASIST Training

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 10:00am

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Fri, 09/20/2019 - 8:00am

Mental Health First Aid

Mon, 09/23/2019 - 5:30pm

Mental Health Advisory Board

Thu, 09/26/2019 - 10:00am

Healthiest Living Series