The Cardinal Initiative Synopsis
By Payton Beims
In the last three years Rawlins County has seen nearly eleven suicides. When one looks at the suicides in Northwest Kansas in general over the same amount of time, the number is much more staggering. The Cardinal Initiative strives to lower that number. In this summary you will find what Cardinal intends to accomplish in the area and how we intend to do it.
The Cardinal Initiative will be a nonprofit organization with the sole priority of bringing long-term mental healthcare to Northwest Kansas. The headquarters/facility will be located in Atwood, Kansas and serve as the “one-stop-shop” for individuals and families seeking that care.
Cardinal will be supervised by a coalition advisory board composed of first responder personnel, nonprofit leaders, mental health professionals, and knowledgeable members of the community.
The functionality of the organization will rely on that coalition. Staying with those demographics, members of the board, and those who work with them, will be the ones who encounter the individuals suffering from mental illness on a regular basis. When they do so, they will be able to recommend they go to the Cardinal facility to seek proper care if they so choose.
To curb the stigma of being labeled “crazy” or “weak,” Cardinal will release informative articles explaining why that thought process is outdated. These articles will be available to the public and will also be made available on public platforms such as Facebook, our website, and the local newspapers. This practice will hopefully correct the actions of those who would rather judge a suffering person than help them. This practice will also serve as a guide to detection so more individuals in the area can be made aware of the organization’s mission.
The Cardinal Initiative will be funded by awarded grants and donations from outside entities. Grant funding will be sought to cover the majority of the cost to construct and furnish a new facility. Donations will be sought to pay salaries as well as utilities and maintenance costs on the facility. Donations will also be used to fund any marketing campaigns carried out by the organization.
In-person, long-term care is a major goal for Cardinal. It will be a top priority for the organization to receive enough funds to sustain a reasonable salary for the mental healthcare professionals Cardinal seeks to hire, and pay the salary of the director.
Portions of the received donations will be used to substantiate a sliding fee scale for those who can not afford the fees from the telehealth provider Cardinal intends to use during the period of raising salary funds.
Cardinal intends to use the telehealth provider known as Cerebral for providing care to the individuals we intend to serve. Cerebral is a low-cost provider whose fees would be easy to cover if the person receiving the care can not afford it. Cardinal intends to be available to everyone and will not turn someone away due to the individual’s inability to pay.
Out of the thousands of nasty, unsightly things that could potentially end someone’s life, suicide is the tenth deadliest assailant in Kansas (CDC 2019). Rawlins County and Northwest Kansas in general has not been exempt from this statistic. In our community, these tragedies were ensued by individuals who either lived in Rawlins County, or were well known by the community and had lived here at one time or another. Some of these people who committed suicide were young and had so much to look forward to in life, but couldn’t due to a lack of support on a professional level.
Every day there are numerous people in our community who contemplate ending their life because of the loneliness they feel facing the issues and traumas which cause them depression. Every day there are people who search for the proper help and guidance, but are met with temporary solutions, no foreseeable chance at long-term care, and an overall generic strategy meant to make someone feel better in the days to come. That same strategy offers little to no follow up, and eventually leads the person suffering to falling back into their depression,
almost making the issue worse on the individual basis than when they first sought professional help.
We as a county must do something to end this appalling trend.