WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The mental health community is mourning the loss of Doctor Achutha Reddy after Wichita police say he was murdered on Wednesday.
“He had a real passion for helping people with mental illness,” said Episcopal Social Services Executive Director Barbara Andres.
Barbara Andres worked alongside Dr. Reddy, an American Board Certified Psychiatrist, for more than 20 years.
“He has actually been the doctor for many of our Breakthrough Club members, so we connected that way. He came over one day and said, ‘Barbara you need to have yoga at the Breakthrough Club’ and we have yoga at the breakthrough club,” Andres said.
The Breakthrough Club is a social and vocational program for persons with a mental illness. It’s one of several mental health programs in the Wichita area.
“He was really very focused on wellness and exercise and we have been focused on that too, so we work with a lot of doctors, a lot of psychiatrists, but Dr. Reddy was one of ours and there were just a lot of people who were in his care,” Andres said.
Maria Williams, 37, was a patient of Dr. Reddy’s for eight years.
“We would talk about our relationship, our children, how I could deal with the PTSD of my first husband dying,” Williams said.
Williams lost her husband to a drunk driver in 1999. She started seeing Dr. Reddy after experiencing flashbacks. Williams said Dr. Reddy helped her open up about the incident.
“Happy, I was happy because I had some issues I was dealing with and I needed to take care of them,” Williams said.
“She was up and down, roller coaster kind-of, then when she met with Dr. Reddy it straightened her all out,” said Williams’ boyfriend William Bruce. “It made me really happy that I actually found somebody that helped her, you know, he did a lot of good for her. I never see any bad out of him.”
When the fair got the news of Reddy’s death, they said they broke down.
“I wanted to cry because he was a good doctor,” Williams said.
The feeling of sadness was felt by Barbara Andres too.
“It is just tragic. The whole thing is just tragic,” Andres said. “It’s a sad time for our community.”
Andres said Dr. Reddy’s services will be greatly missed in the area.
“He had a good size clinic so those patients are going to have to be shifted into other practices and that’s going to take some time and people are going to be nervous and they’re grieving the loss of their doctor,” Andres said. “My guess is some people will fall through the cracks and that’s our biggest concern. That’s why we are really working together.”
Andres said Episcopal Social Services, Comcare and the Mental Health Association will have to find a way to treat Dr. Reddy’s patients and ultimately fill the mental health help gap.
“We have some real work ahead of us as case managers, as employment people, as support people. We have a lot of work to do along with the psychiatry to work together to get people served,” she said. “Now it’s filling the gap and helping people grieve and helping people go forward and remembering the good words that Dr. Reddy gave them and remembering they need to focus on wellness and they need to focus on their mental health.”
Reddy was a psychiatrist at Holistic Psychiatric Services in Wichita. According to the clinic’s website, Holistic Psychiatric Services’s mission is to provide patients with quality holistic mental health care with competence, compassion, and integrity. Holistic Psychiatric Services works closely together with patients to evaluate, educate, and treat a wide range of mental and emotional problems.