Dr. Reddy murder placing spotlight on mental health

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Dr. Achutha Reddy's murder has placed a spotlight on mental health. Some mental health providers say the state's cuts to mental health programs could be making communities more dangerous.

Carol Hewitt is President of Kansas Consumer Advisory Council for Adults with Mental Illness. It's an advocacy group for Kansas adults with mental illness.

Hewitt wonders about how all the state funding cuts to mental health programs are impacting mental health patients in Kansas. She says, "I'm not saying it could have been prevented, but it still could have happened but there are entities out there that could maybe help this person to maybe deter his anger, his aggression, whatever."  

What Hewitt is more confident about is that funding to mental health programs need to be more reliable.  

"Services for mental health have to be stable and can't be wishy-washy, like, we might have funding today and not have funding to run. And so for mental health it needs to be stable."

Barb Andres is Executive Director of Episcopal Social Services in Wichita which oversees the Breakthrough Club's mental health services. Andres said 75% of the program's state funding has been cut since 2010. She said the mental health programs have barely survived on grants and donations. She's hoping for a turnaround in state funding which would put give more stability to their programs.

Breakthrough Club Program Director David Kapten said, "So many people are falling through the cracks. The program we've had is that.. with cutbacks in mental health services we've seen an increase in homelessness. Without those services, the folks that we serve will be out there isolating themselves, getting sicker and being on the streets." 

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