CMHS History

Home / About / CMHS History

CMHS HistoryComprehensive Mental Health Service began as a satellite service provider of Western Missouri Mental Health Center. It was originally incorporated on April 18, 1969 as the Independence Area Health Center under the general Not-For-Profit Corporation Act. The first location was in space leased from the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital located at 1505 West Truman Road. John Macek was the first director.

In 1972, the name was changed to Northeastern Jackson County Mental Health Center. Federal grants, grass roots donation and local memberships were pursued as viable financial resources to begin and maintain services. In 1973, the agency was able to serve 400 customers in a year and began to make a positive impact in the city of Independence, Missouri.

1974 was the first year the young mental health center was awarded a federal staffing grant which allowed basic services to be implemented. The Community Mental Health Services Act set the foundation for the young center to successfully gain an eight year federal grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. This grant allowed the center to expand its service base by reaching 120 new customers a month. In addition, an outpatient office was opened at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Blue Springs.

CMHS History - Dr. James McKee
Dr. James McKee

In July, 1978, Dr. James. L. McKee became the Executive Director. This year also marked that the Missouri Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse certified the center’s alcohol and drug abuse service program which allowed more services to be offered to the community. William H. Kyles joined the organization as Associate Director.

CMHS History - Main CenterIn 1979, the main center opened at 10901 Winner Road in the Englewood area of Independence.

In 1981, the Board of Directors adopted the current name, Comprehensive Mental Health Services, Inc., and our logo to signify our commitment to quality mental health services.

In 1981, voters in Jackson County, Missouri passed the first Mental Health Levy. This levy replaced the eight year federal funded grant and allowed local tax payers to play a role in funding the mental health needs in their respective community. Also in this year, the Missouri State Mental Health Purchase of Service Contracts began with Comprehensive Mental Health Services. This allowed the state to underwrite the fees for services to those customers who could not afford them.

In 1982, Dr. James McKee resigned as executive director and Bill Kyles assumed the director’s responsibilities.

CMHS was accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in 1986.

In 1987, the Turning Point group home was opened at 1730 N. Swope Drive. The purpose of the residential care facility was to provide housing and 24 hour support and care for individuals with serious mental illness.

The Jackson County Community Backed Anti-Drug Tax (COMBAT) began in 1989. Gateway, a transitional home for substance abusers to gain treatment in a safe environment was opened at that time. In the same year, Spring House opened as a nine-bed facility to help those with a serious mental illness needing a stress-free environment on a short-term basis while they deal with psychiatric crises.

Two innovative home-based programs were implemented in 1991 – Families First and Targeted Case Management. These programs were established for youth and their families to help provide support and education as well as assistance with linking the youth and families with appropriate community resources. The first CSTAR (Comprehensive Substance Treatment and Rehabilitation) contract also began in 1991 and the Wingspan program began at Cler-Mont Elementary School, sponsored by CMHS, Neighborhood Councils and the schools through a $40,000 grant from the Children’s Trust Fund.

In 1993, CMHS formed the Comprehensive Mental Health Services Foundation to begin raising private funding to support its programs and services.

Renaissance West was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in August of 1970 by a five-member board of directors. It operated a program for the education and rehabilitation of persons addicted to narcotic drugs. For over 35 years, Renaissance West had provided substance abuse treatment services for persons in residential, outpatient and aftercare programs. Renaissance West is one of Kansas City’s longest standing and most successful treatment programs. In 1998, Comprehensive Mental Health Services purchased Renaissance West and operated it as a subsidiary corporation until 2001 when it became a program within the Addiction Recovery department.

In 2002, Sunrise House was opened by the Community Housing Network. Sunrise House is a 19-unit semi-independent housing complex located at 17830 E. 23rd St.

CMHS History - William H. Kyles
William H. Kyles

In 2004, the Vaughn Building, where adult Community Support services are housed ,was dedicated to Carol Roper Park Vaughn, a former Missouri House of Representative who worked extensively in the mental health community.

In 2010, Comprehensive Mental Health Services moved its Addiction Recovery Program to it’s current location at the Parkway Addiction Center at 17421 Medical Center Parkway.

In February 2011, Comprehensive Mental Health Services was moved into its new main center located at 17844 on East 23rd Street. The building was dedicated to William H. Kyles in celebration of his 35 plus years of service to CMHS. In August of 2011, Joy Copeland became the Interim CEO and President due to the untimely death of William H. Kyles. In May of 2012, Joy Copeland was officially name to the role of President/CEO of Comprehensive Mental Health Services, Inc.

In 2012, CMHS implemented the Healthcare Home as part of an integrated health initiative supported by the Department of Mental Health.

In 2013, CMHS began important Trauma Informed Care and Cultural Competency initiatives.