• Last modified 397 days ago (May 25, 2023)


3rd state mental hospital may ease psychiatric strain

Staff writer

Inpatient psychiatric services often are difficult to find.

In Marion County, people with psychiatric symptoms typically are taken to St. Luke Hospital in Marion or Hillsboro Community Hospital in Hillsboro, where they are screened by a Prairie View counselor and referred to a state hospital if they need inpatient services.

During the time they are in a local hospital, they ordinarily are guarded by police officers.

Patients from Marion County most often are sent to Larned State Hospital.

A newly announced state grant will improve the state’s ability to provide mental health care by paying to build a psychiatric hospital in Wichita.

The 50-bed South Central Kansas State Mental Health Hospital will be owned and operated by the state.

According to Governor Laura Kelly’s office, the regional facility is expected to reduce the state’s shortage of inpatient beds and ease jail overcrowding because it will reduce wait times for psychiatric beds to open up.

It also will allow patients to remain closer to home while they are hospitalized.

Larned serves two-thirds of the state, including central and western Kansas. It houses more than 450 patients, including those referred by Department of Corrections.

Osawatomie State Hospital serves the eastern third of the state.

Inpatient psychiatric services are available closer to Marion County.

Prairie View, established in 1954, has 30 adult inpatient psychiatric beds and 29 adolescent psychiatric beds.

Outpatient services also are offered at offices in Hillsboro, Newton, east and west Wichita, and McPherson.

Marcy Johnson, executive officer of Prairie View, said state hospitals were designed to provide care and safety for people with suicidal or homicidal thoughts who are not willing or able to seek services to remain safe. They are ordered to an involuntary stay through the court.

Prairie View is a private hospital providing care and treatment to people who want to receive services voluntarily.

It also has a contract to serve some involuntary patients who have to wait for a bed at a state hospital. That way, patients are not held in inappropriate places such as jails and emergency departments.

“We are aware that adult and adolescent beds are opening quickly throughout the state,” Johnson said. “This is a great thing and much needed for Kansans.”

Johnson said she was excited about the future of mental health care in Kansas and the commitment from the state to its growth and expansion.

Last modified May 25, 2023