WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Thursday, several organizations united to help solve a battle. The Mental Health Summit and Substance Abuse Coalition met to help determine how to help those in crisis in our community. Local leaders discussed three major issues, mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness.

“Two weeks ago we had four overdoses in Wichita, one death there has been double that in Hutchinson in the last six months to a year. What our goal is, at the same time save money by providing services because if you don’t provide services, these people go to a higher level of care, state hospitals, a local hospital, a jail,” said Harold Casey, CEO of the Substance Abuse Center in Kansas.

City and county leaders, law enforcement, medical and addiction specialists were all part of the meeting. They want to figure out how to work together on things like access to care, communication, and collaboration between service providers and developing options to help people get back to work.

“Workforce is an issue, we just don’t have enough providers in this community plain and simple. So we have to work on solutions for that,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter.

“So it’s bringing all those services providers together and figuring out, okay how do we get by these turf battles and funding and how do we move forward to help this population,” added Vice Mayor Cindy Claycomb.

Each organization brought ideas of what they can offer to those in need. The coalition plans to meet again to discuss the next steps and develop that five-year plan.

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