Monica Kurz referenced the life-saving actions of a suicide prevention phone service Monday while making her case for additional funding.

Kurz, director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center, said an 11-year-old girl called (800) 273-TALK two weeks ago after chatting with a friend on social media who expressed thoughts of suicide.

The girl talked to a counselor about her anxiety. She wanted to help her friend without getting in trouble. The counselor put her in touch with an adult who could keep her friend safe.

"I want every 11-year-old to have that opportunity," Kurz said, "and I want that 11-year-old to talk to somebody who can talk to them quickly and in Kansas.”

She is asking for $250,000 to add staff and improve community outreach through the Lawrence-based Headquarters Inc. Calls to the suicide prevention line from Kansas increased 45 percent in recent years, and nearly half the calls are transferred out of state. Half the people who call already have a plan for suicide, she said.

Leaders of social service organizations from across the state struck a familiar chord in their testimony before a House panel that will make budget recommendations for their programs. They say Kansans suffered for years while the state neglected social service investments before lawmakers began restoring or increasing funding two years ago, and many challenges remain.

Amy Campbell, a lobbyist for the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, provided a litany of areas where funding is needed for mental health and substance abuse.

The coalition wants the Legislature to restore funds for community-based treatment, re-create Medicaid health homes, use problem gambling funds as intended, expand funding of crisis stabilization centers, and create juvenile crisis centers — among other recommendations.

"Too many Kansans with mental illness or substance use disorders are being turned away from the state hospital, or jailed, or trapped in a cycle of arrests and homelessness," Campbell said. "This is far from the goal of delivering the right care at the right time in the right place."

Karen Weichert, CEO of Midland Care Connection, asked the panel to support funding for the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Through Medicaid funding, PACE provides hot meals, laundry service, showers and medical care to seniors with a goal of keeping them in their home. Midland operates PACE sites in Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City, Kan.

Midland receives 40-60 referrals per month, Weichert said. Many are on Medicaid, growing frailer by the day and don't want to go to a nursing home. They can't enroll in PACE because they can't afford to do so with the funding provided by the state.

They end up in nursing homes, she said, which don't have enough beds to support the looming "tsunami" of aging baby boomers.

"Most people on Medicaid cannot afford this Medicaid program," Weichert said. "It is a disservice to them and it is a mistake by our state to penalize Medicaid recipients because they want to stay at home, which also saves state resources."

Lawmakers plan to discuss the requests next week.