Rep. Sharice Davids Champions Mental Health: Secures Funding for Co-Responders, Expands Pilot Program, and Advocates for At-Risk Youth

By Trish Svoboda

Representative Sharice Davids hosted a meeting with law enforcement officers, public health experts, and city officials from Wyandotte County to discuss the impact of her secured federal funding of $750,000. This funding is aiding the Wyandotte County Public Health Department in hiring co-responders, who are trained mental health professionals working with police officers to handle incidents involving individuals in mental health crises.

The funding has allowed for the expansion of the Wyandot Behavioral Health Network’s pilot program, which addresses the high rates of mental illness among community members involved in the justice system. The program has been able to maintain staffing of co-responders, mental health outreach staff, and court liaisons who refer youth to mental health services as an alternative to jail time when suitable.

The project was one of 14 that Davids requested and was approved by Congress in 2022, totaling $31.2 million for Kansas’ Third District. This year, Davids secured an additional $15.8 million for 15 projects in the district, all aimed at improving community health and safety, boosting economic opportunity, and addressing climate change.

Since taking office, Davids has been committed to improving mental health care. She has secured funding for mental health programs in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties and advocated for enhanced mental health supports in schools. Her legislation to renew federal mental health grant programs passed the House last year. She also introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent opioid misuse among student athletes and to improve mental health supports for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional