Economy Could Hurt Mental Health Care

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GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) _ When state Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer was growing up, mental illness was something he never really heard much about.

That's changed though as he has grown older and now a state senator from Grinnell.

Ostmeyer lost a close friend to suicide and says he carries a soft place in his heart for the unborn, disabled veterans and those with mental illness.

Ostmeyer and other legislators, including Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, attended a recent legislative reception hosted by the Area Mental Center at its Campusview property.

The night's agenda was information on how the current financial crisis will affects those suffering from a serious or persistent mental illness.

The statewide mental health system has a budget of about $400 million.

However, officials say it appears to be a ``bleak outlook'' for the state's upcoming budget and revenue collection.