Kansas battles shortage in mental health providers

Local

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Southwest Kansas has been battling a lack of psychiatrists and mental health providers in its rural areas which has officials looking to other options.

Needing a mental health provider can take a week to several months before getting an appointment and it isn’t just in rural communities. 

Compass Executive Director Lisa Southern said she’s noticed counties across the state needing countless positions filled.

The problem hasn’t gone unnoticed and now the group is trying a different approach for the rural area, which is relying on telemedicine programs.

“We are currently short-staffed, a little bit, in our Scott City and Ulysses office,” said Southern. “If they don’t have a therapist that can see someone timely, then we can use televideo, and they can see a therapist in any of our offices, that way the service can still happen.”

Compass has some outreach programs to help with the recruiting, but Southern said she hopes they will see more applicants coming through the door.

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