Comprehensive Mental Health Services, based in Independence, serves about 4,000 people a year in Eastern Jackson County. Mostly their clients suffer from mental or emotional issues, or from addiction, or a combination of those things.

It’s asking Jackson County for $176,786 to hire a suicide-prevention specialist and a hospital discharge specialist, and to cover related costs, with the aim of preventing suicide, the eighth-leading cause of death in Missouri.

It’s part of an effort called Zero Suicide.

“No number is appropriate or acceptable for us,” CMHS Director of Quality and Compliance Gina Armitage told county legislators Monday.

Comprehensive Mental Health is one of dozens of agencies across the county requesting funding for 2018, generally for programs that fill social services gaps or that help county programs reach further.

Legislators are going through the 2018 budget this week, department by department. On Monday, they heard from a dozen agencies that currently don’t get county funding but would like to. That’s in addition to 52 others asking for continued funding.

Requests far exceed the amount available. County Executive Frank White Jr. has penciled in $3.43 million for outside agencies in his proposed 2018 budget, lower than the 2017 figure, which White’s office puts at $3.77 million but the legislative office puts at $3.59 million. The total requests for 2018 from all 64 agencies are $6.23 million.

Among the requests:

• Swope Health Services, which has a clinic in Independence among its facilities across the metro area. It got $72,561 for efforts to fight chronic disease this year and is asking for $136,307. Also, $43,508 this year for a homeless pharmacy with a request of $58,427; $108,778 this year to address low birth weights and a request of $128,905; and $29,341 this year for a mental health court with a request of 32,375. Overall, that would be a 42.2 percent increase for Swope.

• Children’s Mercy Hospital, which has a large clinic in Independence among its facilities across the metro area. It got $100,000 this year and is asking for $850,000.

• The Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City. It got $479,488 this year, the same as requested for 2018.



• The Community Services League, which provides a wide range of assistance and financial-stability programs across Eastern Jackson County – $30,000, the same as in 2017.

• Foster Adopt Connect in Independence, a resource for foster families – $25,000, the same as in 2017.

• NorthWest Community Development in the Fairmount neighborhood of Independence. It got $60,000 in 2017 and is asking for $86,197.

• Great Plains SPCA, which runs animal shelters, including the county’s shelter in Independence. It got $230,000 this year and is asking for $300,000.

• Harvesters, which supplies food banks in much of western Missouri and eastern Kansas. It got $60,000 this year and is asking for $75,000.

• University of Missouri Extension – $258,000 this year and a request of $283,654.

• River of Refuge, which runs a transitional housing program for families trying to escape the trap of pay-by-the-week hotels. It’s renovated an old hospital on Raytown Road. It got $50,000 for that program this year and is asking for $218,000. It got $20,000 this year for family assistance but made no request for that this year.

• Happy Bottoms, which provides diapers through a variety of social service agencies. Public assistance such as food stamps does not cover diapers, and many parents try to do without.

Executive Director Jill Gaikowski said the problem poses a barrier to work for parents scraping to get by: Day cares won’t take babies and toddlers without diapers, and the lack of day care keeps moms from working.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” she said.

Happy Bottoms got no money this year and is asking for $50,000.