About Us

Our Mission

Our mission is to aid consumers through education, advocacy, collaboration with community partners, feedback and equal representation. We represent our fellow consumers from districts throughout Kansas and special constituent groups, to strengthen our voice in mental health causes.

Our Vision

Our Vision is that all Kansans have access to mental health recovery and recovery‐oriented services that promote self‐ determination, empowerment, and wellness. We believe all people can use their life experiences or trauma to build dignity and self‐direction for a life of their choice.

Our History

The Kansas Consumer Advisory Council for Adult Mental Health (KCAC) was incorporated in 2001 as a 501c3 Not for Profit organization. KCAC was created as an advisory group in 2000, bringing together a select group of mental health consumer leaders to give feedback to the state’s mental health authority at that time.

Kathy Harmon, Director of the department of  Mental Health /Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery was instrumental in bringing the original group together and supporting a statewide network of people with  lived experience of mental illness.

In 2001 the original group  formed into an independent organization with the mission to educate, advocate, and collaborate with community partners. The goal was to strengthen consumer voices in mental health causes.

KCAC Founding Members

  • Gary Parker, President
  • Cathi Clark
  • Denise Baynham
  • Luella Wriston, Secretary
  • Linda Palmer
  • Les Higgins, Vice President
  • Barbara Bohm
  • Esther Fitzgerald
  • Cherie Bledsoe
  • John Winslow
  • David Munoz
  • Gene Deegan

Key milestones in our journey

  • 2001: First federal grant received for development of CAC infrastructure and the Leadership Academy. Su Budd was hired as the first Leadership Academy Director
  • 2001: The first annual statewide Kansas Recovery Conference organized and facilitated by CAC with support from WSU Self-Help Network was held at Century II Convention Center in Wichita
  • First Kansas CAC Leadership Academy was held from September 2002 – May of 2003 in monthly sessions culminating in a graduation ceremony at the Kansas Recovery Conference in June 2003
  • 2015: Four CAC staff members traveled to Sydney, Australia, to take our So You Want to Change the World – Developing a Trauma Informed System to peers under a partnership with Douglas Holmes at St Vincent’s Hospital.
  • June 2021 first virtual/ in-person hybrid conference

As awareness of mental health continues to shift toward a positive understanding, we’re excited to share to growth and impact our organization has on the community.

People Board of Directors Shaking Hands

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of our organization. They provide direction and input on CAC activities, are responsible for financial oversight of the organization, and help with statewide outreach by connecting with peers in their communities. The board is also responsible for hiring and oversight of the Executive Director(s).

In their function as a board member, they provide direction and oversight for the organization, in addition to helping us achieve statewide representation and perspective. They also help promote CAC events and pass along important information to peers in their community.

Directors are elected/appointed for a 3 year term, with an option to run for election to one additional 3 year term. After the second term, a director must be off of the board for 3 years before becoming eligible to apply again to serve on the Board of Directors.

Apply to be on our Board of Directors

Representatives

Kansas CAC Board of Directors

Gina Anderson

Region 1 Representative (Northwest Kansas)/ CAC Board Vice President
High Plains Independence, Executive Director

R.A. McMillin-Beckman

Region 2 Representative (North Central Kansas) / CAC Board President
Pawnee Mental Health Services, Benefits Specialist - SOAR Local Lead
Recovery Harbor, Secretary

Marilyn Murphy

Region 3 Representative (Northeast Kansas)

Vacant

Region 4 Representative (Southwest Kansas)

Stanley Jesseph

Region 5 Representative (South Central Kansas)
Caring Place, Administrative Assistant

Sandy DeWitt

Region 6 Representative (Southeast Kansas) /CAC Board Secretary
Journey to Recovery, Executive Director

Nancy Jensen

Urban CROs Representative / CAC BoardTreasurer
Caring Place, Executive Director

Vacant

Rural CROs Representative

Mary K. Bilbrey

At-Large Representative
Board Member, Recovery Harbor

Brenda Lee

At-Large Representative
Caring Place, Board President
Kansas County Map

Region 1

Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Graham, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wells

Region 2

Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Geary, Jewell, Lincoln, Marshall, Mitchell, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Saline, Washington

Region 3

Nemaha, Brown, Doniphan, Jackson, Atchison, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Shawnee, Douglas,  Johnson

Region 4

Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Hodgeman, Edwards, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Gray, Ford, Kiowa, Morton, Stevens, Seward, Meade, Clark, Comanche

Region 5

Barber, Barton, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Marion, McPherson, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Stafford, Sumner

Region 6

Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Lyon, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Osage, Wabaunsee, Woodson

Our Team

Kansas CAC Staff

Koleen Garrison

Co-Executive Director / PLEE Coordinator

Melissa Patrick

Co-Executive Director / Recovery Conference Coordinator

Darla Carra-Denton

Outreach Specialist

Dorthene (Dee) Hinton Turner

Outreach Specialist