The Healthy Communities Initiative: Improving Community Health through Policy, Systems and Environmental Changes

CCSR Executive Director Scott Wituk compiled information and presented it at the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) conference this summer. CCSR collaborated with Adrienne Paine-Andrews and Jeff Usher, Kansas Health Foundation. Below is a link to a larger image of the oster. #SCRA2015

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Click to view a large image of the poster (.pdf).


The Kansas Certified Peer Specialist Initiative

Inforrmation about 'Building Peer Support into the Public Mental Health System' was shared at the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) conference. The CPS team recruits, trains and provides ongoing assistance to peer specialists. The poster provides an overview and images of The Five Stages of Recovery by Beth Filson. Below is a link to a larger image of the poster.

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Click to view a large image of the poster (.pdf).


Database of support groups available for students and faculty

Everyone faces struggles at one time or another. Students are constantly juggling classes, activities and their families and may need support for concerns such as depression, physical illnesses, care for a difficult child, addiction or disabilities. When you want to find a group of people who intimately understand how and why you are struggling, our comprehensive list of local and national support group resources are available to help you find the right place where your needs can get met.

The online database of support groups is available at www.SupportGroupsInKansas.org. It contains local support group contacts and national support group resources. There are over 230 groups listed in Sedgwick County and several hundred throughout Kansas, and groups can be searched by topic and county. The information is updated and maintained by the Center for Community Support and Research (CCSR) at Wichita State University.

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WSU social work practicum student, Zachariah McCallister, suffered from an accident a few years ago which caused him brain trauma and nerve damage. “Six years after my accident I decided to look for a support group,” McCallister said. “I found some, but I did not attend one. I tricked myself into thinking that my experiences were unique. As I look back, not reaching out for help was one of the biggest mistakes I made.”

McCallister started working on his social work practicum in the fall of 2014, nine years after his accident. Through his work on the support group services team at CCSR he has visited two support groups. “I felt relief to be around people who understood me, even though I had already worked through most of my challenges,” he said. “I no longer felt odd. My personal experience has strengthened my resolve to recommend support groups when someone tells me they feel alone and are facing a difficulty.  Some things in life are already hard to get through, why try to get through them alone?”

If you are thinking about starting a support group or are currently leading one, CCSR provides resources that will help you develop a strong and sustainable group. If you have additional questions, contact Angela Gaughan, Support Group Project Specialist at support.groups@wichita.edu or 316-978-5496

Here's a link to Zachariah’s blog post, Finding relief and acceptance from support groups.


Join us in the BIG move:  CCSR is moving to Old Town

The Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research (CCSR) is excited to move to Old Town. WSU administrators announced the establishment of WSU Old Town which will be formed in the buildings housed by Airbus on north Mead.

The move will allow CCSR the opportunity to expand its work with hundreds of organizations and communities, including health and human service organizations, nonprofits, state and local governments, and coalitions across Kansas.

“The new Old Town location will give CCSR space and visibility to continue its work, helping organizations and communities achieve a brighter future for Kansas,” said John Bardo, WSU president.

WSU is estimating about 200 faculty and staff will work in Old Town, while 300 students will be involved in classes or clinical work there and more than 15,000 visitors will attend educational sessions, meetings or community activities.

“Being with other WSU centers and departments at WSU Old Town will create new possibilities for joint efforts and initiatives, while also generating new student opportunities,” said CCSR Executive Director Scott Wituk. “From small nonprofits to large multi-million dollar organizations, WSU students will have new opportunities to engage with the community, gaining critical hands-on experiences.”

For more information, contact CCSR Executive Director Scott Wituk at scott.wituk@wichita.edu or 316-978-3327.


Peer Support Training: Expanding the Opportunities

The Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research in partnership with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has responded to the needs of the Kansas mental health community by implementing the following changes to the peer support training and certification process:

Peer support training will be offered at two levels and at various regions throughout the state. Level 1 training will cover basic concepts and skills of providing peer support such as the language of recovery, using one’s recovery story, and establishing a supportive relationship. Level 1 training will be open to anyone who self-identifies as having primary, lived experience of a mental health challenge. 

LJPEG Imageevel 1 training will be available not only to those who are already hired as peer specialists and who need certification, but also to people involved with consumer-run organizations, volunteers, and people interested in entering the peer specialist workforce.   

Level 1 training will confer “in training” status on those hired at positions that require certification, such as community mental health centers and state hospitals. Peer specialists who bill Medicaid will now have one year (as opposed to six months, previously) to complete training through Level 2.

Level 2 (complete certification for billing purposes) goes deeper into peer support concepts and adds skills such as problem-solving, facilitating peer support groups, and cultural competency. Level 2 training is reserved for those who have both completed Level 1 and are working at community mental health centers, state hospitals, and the VA.

There will be an exam following each level of training. Currently certified peer specialists will automatically receive Level 2 status.

Level 1 trainings are scheduled for:

• Newton (November 11-12, 2014)
• Lawrence (December 2014, dates and specific location TBD)

Subsequent Level 1 trainings are slated for Dodge City, Manhattan, Pittsburg, and Hays, dates and venues TBA.

The first Level 2 training is scheduled for Newton in March of 2015 and Great Bend later in the year.
Other training dates and locations will be made available at the Training Teams website.
Those who qualify can apply for peer support training any time by visiting the Training Teams website and downloading an application.

For questions concerning applications, contact Christine Young at christine.young@wichita.edu (316) 978-3224. For questions about the new training structure, contact Lael Ewy at lael.ewy@wichita.edu (316) 978-7352.



News and Notes - September 2014

This publication included three articles:

  • CCSR Expands Services to Include Public Health Initiatives - BuildinStudent sitting at desk working on computerg on CCSR assistance of a dozen local and state-wide public health efforts over the past year, we are expanding our service areas to include Public Health Initiatives. Our Public Health Initiatives will join our other service areas, including:  Leadership Development, Organizational Capacity Building, Community-Based Consulting, Research and Evaluation and Behavioral Health Initiatives.
  • Providing Training and Resources to Strengthen Consumer Run Organizations
  • CCSR Launches VISTA Fellows: Addressing Poverty in Kansas

To view the full document, click here.


News and Notes - May 2014 issue

Three people talking amongst themselves.CCSR announces three new initiatives at 30th Anniversary Open House:  applied learning, recovery through peer support, public health initiatives. For more information, click here.

We celebrated 30 years of providing services to help strengthen nonprofits, government agencies and community coalitions across Kansas on April 29, 2014. For details and to view our anniversary video, click here.



CPS News available, Vol. 4JPEG Image

Health Homes: What you need to know:  KanCare (formerly Kansas Medicaid) is changing the model for providing services to persons who have been diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness and who qualify for KanCare assistance. The new model is called “health home.” For information about health homes, what they will do, qualifications and more, click here for the rest of the story.

This issue is chalked full of information. It includes Part 1:  The Future of a Movement, samples of certified peer specialist roles in Kansas and a book review by Christine Young of Daring Greatly written by Brené Brown.



Support groups available in most counties in Kansas

In Kansas, more than 900 local support groups meet in most Kansas counties. Groups gather around a variety of topics. Some topics include:  medical conditions, parenting, addiction, mental health, caregiving, grief, disabilities and other topics.
The Wichita State Center for Community Support and Research staff maintains an online database, www.SupportGroupsInKansas.org that contains contact information for local support groups as well as 1,300 national organizations and websites that provide information on a broad range of topics.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback proclaimed January as Support Group Awareness Month in a signing ceremony on Friday, Dec. 20, in Topeka. As stated in the proclamation, support groups have been recognized nationally and internationally as an efficient, practical, cost-effective means of coping with life crises and physical and mental health care concerns.

Click for full press release.


News and Notes

JPEG ImageCCSR established a new Public Health Initiative to provide technical assistance, training and evaluation support for local health departments and other organizations that provide public health services. For more information about this and other recent projects at CCSR, click here.

An example of a successful planned executive succession project with the Kansas DUI Impact Center is described as well as details about the development of a Home Health Learning Collaborative with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Read more about a youth leadership project offering youth with mental health concerns to come together and practice leadership in Kansas.

The first issue of the Center for Community Support and Research’s quarterly electronic publication, News and Notes, is now available. PNG Image

It includes information about evaluating 22 Early Childhood Block Grant programs from the Kansas Children’s Cabinet grant, facilitating community leadership teams through Healthy Communities Initiative grant from the Kansas Health Foundation and implementing leadership projects with early childhood organizations in Kansas. It also contains details about the Certified Peer Specialists' support and training offered throughout the state.

To be added to the email distribution list, send an email with “add to News and Notes” in the subject to Angela at angela.gaughan@wichita.edu.


'Making it Sane' video started at CCSR, wins award

JPEG ImageA former colleague, Louis Brown, PhD, published a video, "Making it Sane" which received third place at the 14th Biennial Conference on Community Research and Action (SCRA). Brown began the compelling documentary as part of his dissertation when he was working at the Center for Community Support and Research (CCSR).

Brown has gained national recognition for his work with self-help support groups, chairs the SCRA Interest Group on Self-Help Groups (co-founded by Lou Medvene & Greg Meissen, both WSU professors), recently authored a new policy for the American Psychological Association recognizing the impact of self-help groups, has written two books and published a number of journal articles. Brown won the SCRA Early Career Award at the SCRA Conference based on his excellent work started at WSU and has continued on at Johns Hopkins, Penn State, and the University of Texas. Currently Brown is assistant professor with the Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas School of Public Health.

"Making it Sane" chronicles the lives of four people with mental health problems, their recovery journeys, and their collaborative operation of a nonprofit called the P.S. Club. Short for P.S. I love you, the P.S. Club provides a supportive atmosphere where people with mental help problems can socialize, make lasting friendships, and work towards improving the lives of all people with mental health problems. The documentary provides insight into both the challenges people with mental health problems face and their ability to collectively overcome these challenges.

Brown can be reached here


JPEG Image Wordle graphic of answers to the question, what are we in charge of?

Empowering youth through qualitative research

Dr. Tara Gregory and Bailey Blair wrote a blog for the American Evaluation Association – regarding their research with YLinK (Youth Leadership in Kansas). To read about how they honored what the members love about their groups as they also moved them toward best practices for positive youth development/leadership, click here.

Image to the right is a Wordle graphic for responses to: "What are youth in charge of in this group?"


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CCSR provides Peer Consultation and Support

Peer Consultation and Support is a service of CCSR's Mental Health Initiative. This service is available to:

  • support CPS groups, peers and supervisors
  • shadow peer interactions
  • assess and evaluate
  • assist in problem solving
  • make recommendations
  • assist with documentation

For more information call or email Randy Johnson, at randy.johnson@wichita.edu or 316-765-2426.



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Recovery in the real world:  Sumner Mental Health Center provides a Community Garden which helps people get in touch with their inner strengths, connect to the community and give back. For the rest of the story follow this link.

The publication also includes information about the upcoming 2013 Kansas Recovery Conference (Phoenix Rising...Triumph over Trials), the new look of CPS 101, a request for your CPS success stories and an article on the recent makeover at Valeo Behavioral Health in Topeka.



Jensen publishes book about her memiorsJPEG Image

Nancy Jensen, peer educator at CCSR, had her story published recently. Jensen’s book, The Girl Who Cried “Wolf!” is written about her recovery which happened when she was working at CCSR. Also contributing are Nathan Swink, PhD and Greg Meissen, PhD.
The book is the heroic story of Nancy Jensen’s journey through mental illness to recovery. Raised in small-town Colorado Nancy learned early to depend on church support. A challenging family life combined with further challenges in school left her searching for God and family elsewhere. Her search led her to Newton, Kansas, where she found a home first in a communal church before spending just over a year at Kaufman House.
Kaufman House was supposed to be a great and progressive place for mentally ill. It was not. When she tried to blow the whistle, she found that no one believed her. She was the girl who cried “Wolf!” Almost 20 years later Arlan and Linda Kaufman were taken to trial. With the help of Nancy’s testimony the federal government found both guilty.
Since then Nancy has worked to pass a law preventing such oversight in the future, received the prestigious Voice Award, and is currently a member of the Sedgwick County Mental Health Advisory Board. After a lifetime of mental illness she has taken control of her treatment including eliminating medications and dropping-off government support in order to work full-time.



2012 Annual Report

JPEG ImageAcross Kansas, CCSR Responds.

In 2012, the Center for Community Support and Research assisted over 100 Kansas-based nonprofits, community coalitions and government agencies to better fulfill their mission. Excellence. Integrity. Capacity Development. Partnering. Here is a link to the rest of the Annual Report.

Also included is a quote from Dr. Bardo, president, Wichita State University, “Wichita State is not just a university in a city, it’s a university of the city—and no organization better reflects that position than the Center for Community Support and Research. CCSR’s assistance to government agencies, nonprofits and community coalitions helps organizations better fulfill their missions so that they can chart the course for a bright future in Wichita.” 


CCSR Undergoes Leadership Restructure

Wichita State University's Center for Community Support and Research has restructured its management.

The following is a list of several new positions and the management structure at CCSR.

Seth Bate – director of leadership development
Amy Delamaide – director of community and organizational development
Tara Gregory – director of research and evaluation
Randy Johnson – director of mental health initiatives
Heather Perkins – director of operations and finance
Kevin Bomhoff – director of strategic development
Scott Wituk – executive director

CCSR helps individuals, organizations and communities with leadership development, organizational capacity building, community-based consulting, research and evaluation and through its Mental Health Consumer initiative.

In 2012, the center helped more than 100 Kansas-based nonprofits, community coalitions and government agencies.

Read more in WSU News.


CCSR staff research and facilitate for the Reno County Crime Task Force

JPEG ImageCCSR researchers have been working with the Reno County Crime Reduction Task Force to review data and involve the community in crime reduction planning. CCSR's Steve Williams facilitated a community input session in Hutchinson last week, described in this article from the Hutch News.

Tara Gregory, PhD, is the primary evaluator for the project.





CPS newsletter releasedKaufman House in Newton

Revisiting the site of Trauma:  According to Christine Young and Nancy Jensen, revisiting the site of traumatic experiences is about honoring experiences and moving through them, not moving past them. Here is the pdf file for the rest of this article and others in the latest issue of the CPS newsletter. It also includes the dates for the 2013 Kansas Recover Conference, upcoming CPS training dates, an article on the Olmstead decision and information about the youth organization -- YLinK.

The photo to the right is the Kaufman House located at 321 W. 7th, Newton



WSU Center for Community Support and Research to be evaluators for $2.4 million Community Transition Grant

JPEG ImageThe Center for Community Support and Research has been chosen as the evaluator for a $2.4 million Community Transition Grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Greater Wichita YMCA on behalf of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita. The Health and Wellness Coalition is one of 40 recipients of this grant in the U.S. The Community Transition Grant is targeted at impacting the health and wellness of the Wichita community through addressing nutrition, physical activity, obesity and tobacco use. CCSR, which worked closely with the YMCA and the Health and Wellness Coalition to assist with the grant application, will use a multi-method approach to evaluating such coalition efforts as: 1) developing master bike and pedestrian plans to encourage physical activity, 2) enhancing a breastfeeding in the workplace initiative, 3) providing mini-grants to food pantries and soup kitchens for the purchase of refrigerators for healthy perishable food storage, 4) working with farmer’s markets to provide Electronic Benefits Transfer machines that will provide greater access to healthy foods for low-income persons, 5) funding signage for local parks and community housing sites regarding prohibition of tobacco use in those areas, and 6) assessing the need for healthy foods across various areas of the city.

CCSR Director Scott Wituk commented, “The Health and Wellness Coalition includes over 75 organizations, businesses, and schools who are committed toJPEGImage promoting physical activity and healthy eating in the Wichita area. They have been doing great work for years and this grant highlights their growth and accomplishments. We are happy to play a small role in this community effort.”

For more information about CCSR’s evaluation, please contact CCSR’s research and evaluation coordinator, Tara Gregory at 978-3714 or tara.gregory@wichita.edu


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Spirituality Report

The report of a Statewide Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery Summit is available.




PNGImage Download CPS News. This is the first issue of the CPS Newletter.


PNGImage Download the 2011 CCSR Annual Report

PNGImage Download the 2010 CCSR Annual Report


Consumers, Providers, Faith Community Come Together to Discuss Spirituality and Mental Health

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Over 100 people representing mental health service providers, consumers, clergy, and other community stakeholders attended the statewide Summit on Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery which was held at the Wichita State University Marcus Welcome Center on April 24. Participants engaged in a productive series of dialogs facilitated by the staff at the WSU Center for Community Support and Research.

Read more




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