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KANZA Celebrates 54 Years of Service

KANZA Mental Health and Guidance Center, Inc. celebrated its 54th annual meeting October 26th at the Klinefelter Farm and Barn, Hiawatha, Kansas with nearly 90 staff, board and county commissioners, enjoying an excellent meal along with recognizing several staff for years of service.  Department leaders highlighted their department’s accomplishment of the Center’s mission to “Offer Hope for a Healthier Tomorrow.”   Dr. Micaela Wexler, DO, Medical Director, shared some of her life experiences leading to her decision to become a psychiatrist and spoke about the importance of mental health services to experience a healthier life.

The Center recognized Kent Saylor, Nemaha County Board member from both boards, for his 28 years of service.  During his all of his tenure Kent has served as secretary/treasurer and helped found the KANZA Mental Health Foundation that is currently raising funds to renovation the Moser Building in Holton, Kansas as the single site for mental health services in Jackson County. He also serves as president of the Foundation Board.  “It was a wonderful evening and Kent Saylor received a standing ‘O’ for his contributions to KANZA,” shared David Elsbury, CEO.

Youth Mental Health at School

August is back-to-school month, and we all know what that means. The new school year means new clothes, shoes, school supplies and more. But part of preparing to go back to school, whether as a student or teacher, also means taking care of your mental health and well-being.

During the transition back into the school year, students and teachers alike can face a variety of mental health challenges, so knowing how to recognize and provide assistance tailored to the individual’s needs is important.




Northeast Kansas County Comissioners declare May Mental Health Month.

David Elsbury, CEO of Kanza Mental Health and Guidance Center presented Brown, Doniphan, Nemaha and Jackson County commissions with a proclamation for Mental Health Month.  The signed proclamation declares the importance of mental health awareness in communities and how everyone plays a vital part in mental health success.  This year’s theme for Mental Health month is Risky Business – a call to educate our communities about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating a mental illness.

Brown County Commission; Pictured left to right David Elsbury, Kanza CEO, County Commissioner Dwight Kruse, Steve Roberts, and Keith Olsen

Doniphan County Commission; Pictured left to right Jerry McKernan, Tim Collins, Thad Geiger, and Kanza CEO, David Elsbury

Jackson County Commission; Pictured left to right Commissioner  William Elmer, Rob Ladner, Kanza CEO, David Elsbury and Commissioner Janet Zwonitzer

Nemaha County Commission. Pictured left to right:  County Commissioner Tim Burdiek, Dennis Henry, Kanza CEO David Elsbury, and Commissioner Gary Scoby.

May is Mental Health Month

Would You Know When You’ve Gone Too Far?


Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. But people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

Sometimes people struggling with mental health develop habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.

Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and destructive relationships potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

This May is Mental Health Month; Kanza Mental Health and Guidance Center is raising awareness of Risky Business. The campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals dealing with a mental health concern understand that some behaviors and habits can be detrimental to recovery but that seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of.

We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness—and do so in a compassionate, judgment-free way. When we engage in prevention and early identification and provide treatment,, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness. So, let’s talk about what is and is not risky business

To take the quiz:


January 2017


Kanza Mental Health Foundation and Kanza Mental Health and Guidance Center, Inc. received a $15,000 donation on Dec. 21 from Denison State Bank in Holton. Presenting the check that day to CEO David Elsbury were Jim Birkbeck, chairman of the DSB board of directors, and the directors attending their monthly meeting. The donation was given as part of the Foundation’s 2016 fundraising campaign, which is an annual event in its four-county service area and builds on the 2015 campaign to raise funds to support the renovation of the Moser Building located at 510 Kansas Ave. in Holton, which once housed the Holton Community Hospital.

This campaign’s success is inspired by the generous match pledge by an anonymous donor that has promised to match each dollar raised with $2.00 when the goal of $50,000 is reached. Jim Birkbeck and the Bank Board provided their gift to assist Kanza to reach this goal and ultimately help the Kanza Mental Health Foundation raise the $150,000 that is possible this year.

David Elsbury, Kanza’s CEO since 2006, explained to the Board the Center’s plans to renovate the Moser Building to house the Center’s services for Jackson County and to grow the services to better meet the mental health needs of the community. In 2016 Kanza, working with the Jackson County Commission, submitted a community development block grant that will provide nearly 50 % of the renovation costs and is raising funds locally to also support the project.  Kanza has been serving the area since 1963 as its licensed community mental health center providing a wide range of mental health services.

February 2015

Mental Health First Aid a growing success says National Council on Behavioral Healthcare. “Now with more than 6,300 instructors, the program has spread to all 50 states. Since 2008, more than 300,000 people in the U.S. have completed the Mental Health First Aid course to learn how to help youth and adults with mental health and substance use concerns connect to care in their communities.” Since May of 2010 Kanza has delivered 16 trainings and trained 248 persons in our four county area. Courses have been held in all four counties. Our post-training evaluation scores show an approval rating of 4.38 on a five point scale. Kanza’s certified adult and youth MHFA trainers are Jolene Lowe, CBS Assistant Director and David Elsbury, CEO. Kanza has been asked to join with KDADS and the Kansas Department of Education to provide MHFA training for staff of the schools in Brown County. If you are interested in scheduling a class, please contact David Elsbury at 785-742-7113.

November 2014

KANZA is proud to be included as one of eight local non-profit agencies Thrivent Financial is choosing to support in its second annual “Championing Charities” events in 2015. Hiawatha’s event will occur Sunday, November 16th from 11:30-2:30 pm during the Jingle Bell Ride. Championing Charities will be located on the square at PRTS 200 Oregon St. Sabetha’s event will occur on Friday, November 28th from 4:30 – 7:30 pm during the Window Opening event at the Community Center 1116 Main Street. Please join your friends at KANZA at this Christmas fundraiser event. There will be live music, a coat drive and food and fun. You can support the KANZA Mental Health Foundation and the Center’s mission of HOPE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW with your tax deductible donation. Click Here to View Flyers: Hiawatha Flyer and Sabetha Flyer

May 2014

KANZA is pleased to announce that it has purchased its first building in Doniphan County to house our agency and its services to the citizens of Doniphan County. The new facility is approximately 1400 square feet of usable office space and will provide a much improved location for the Center’s clinical services in Doniphan County. It is located at 134 E. Walnut St. on the north side of the Troy town square. Services began at this site on April 15th, 2014.