WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita State University’s Suspenders for Hope program was launched in 2015. The goal of the program was to provide mental health resources to WSU’s student body. After 2020, the program began seeking to extend its reach to more of Sedgwick County.

They decided to partner with Comcare Community Crisis Center, providing them with a trial run of 250 “hope kits” in an effort to bridge the gap between someone’s emergency psychiatric care and their next outpatient visit.

Comcare is using the hope kits to pair as a resource with their crisis ‘9-8-8’ phone number that individuals can call any time they are experiencing a crisis.

The hope kits include informational pamphlets on what a person can do if they find themselves in a mental health crisis. It also includes helpful phone numbers and resources that individuals can use to their advantage.

A t-shirt, and interactive items like coloring books, can make individuals understand that there is someone that cares about their recovery.

“The idea is how can we give someone a gift, let them know that they are loved and give them a starter kit to give them the tools, that they can build on and create that personal coping kit,” said WSU Chief Psychologist Jessica Provines.

For Provines, the ability to help those who are dealing with a mental health crisis is of the most importance.

“Sadly, I have lost way too many people that I love to suicide, and each grief motivates me more to take this message into the community and bring hope to people in times of despair as much as we can,” said Provines.

She hopes that one day the hope kit can be used in programs across the country.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 for help in Sedgwick County.