WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita teamed up with Sedgwick County to present a united front when it came to calling attention to the need for mental health resources in the community. 

Mayor Brandon Whipple said it’s time to create lasting infrastructure. 

“Frankly, we’re the largest city. We’re a city that’s growing and we don’t have a lot of options at this point in our city to serve the population who might need access to some of this mental health care,” said Whipple. 

Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse agreed.

“We need to figure out what is best and we’re just asking to take a good hard look at long-term psychiatric beds that will reduce the burden of our jails and care for the people that need that care,” said Cruse. 

So what did they ask for in Topeka?

“Either a mental health hospital or just increasing capacity you know, at least 50 more beds,” continued Whipple. 

Whipple noted that SPARK funding – money from the federal government for Covid relief –  would be a great push towards achieving this goal, but that won’t be the only source of cash flow. 

“We’re willing to bring money to the table at the city and also at the county level,” continued Whipple. 

“I think that you know for the first time in a very long time we have leaders who are really focused on common goals,” added Cruse.

They said the time to address mental health needs in the community is now.

“It’s because of the pandemic that we have this opportunity with this extra funds but you know, we won’t have this chance again, and we could really make it impactful transformational change,” concluded Whipple.