The politics and policies of behavioral health and drug policy reform in Kansas
AdvisorWoods, Nikki Keene; Lewis, Rhonda K.
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Vuong, Ngoc. 2022. The politics and policies of behavioral health and drug policy reform in Kansas -- In Proceedings: 21st Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 33
Substantial increases in suicides and drug overdose deaths, the lack of access to behavioral health care, and the effects of structural stigma on people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders underlie the need for behavioral health and drug policy reform in Kansas. However, many of the evidence-based strategies to improve behavioral health and reduce substance-related harms in Kansas face notable barriers. As part of a broader study on stakeholders’ attitudes toward behavioral health reform and their recommendations to improve the behavioral health care system in Kansas, two qualitative research projects were conducted on (1) stakeholders’ attitudes toward primary care and behavioral health integration, mental health parity, social determinants of health, and school-based mental health services; and (2) stakeholders’ recommendations to prevent overdoses, underage substance use, and other substancerelated harms. In the first research project, there were 9 interviewees, including elected officials, state employees, members of mental health advocacy groups, and payers. In the second research project, there were 11 interviewees, including elected officials, law enforcement/criminal justice officials, health care professionals, and members of substance use prevention and recovery groups. Thematic analyses will be conducted on interviewees’ responses to identify themes related to policy-level factors that affect mental illness and substance use disorders and behavioral health care in general. Themes from these two qualitative research projects will be juxtaposed for an overarching, preliminary narrative on behavioral health, harm reduction, and drug policy reform in Kansas.
Presented to the 21st Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 15, 2022.