If you have ever been in need of mental health or substance abuse treatment or know of those who are, I hope you are aware of the current mental health crisis the state of Oklahoma is currently undergoing. Not only those who are in the mental health field need to speak out but all of those in the state of Oklahoma who could be potentially impacted as well.
Unfortunately the devastating news the state of Oklahoma had to hear yesterday was very unsettling for many to hear. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced yesterday that due to the current unresolved $215 million deficit they would be taking a huge cut of $75 million during the 2018 fiscal year. This budget cut is a huge portion that essentially could effect the livelihoods of many who provide mental health services, the consumers, friends, relatives, and staff. The impacted services include state-funded outpatient agencies who are Medicaid eligible providing case management, individual/family/group therapy, residential treatment for children, Systems of Care (helps the youth and schools), and Drug and Mental Health Court. Think about those who are most vulnerable and in need right now. Even if it doesn’t directly impact you, there is someone you may know that could be and I would hope the thought alone helps motivate you to be part of the solution. To help paint this picture more clearly, Oklahoma is in a CRISIS state meaning that we are at risk of suicidal, homicidal, and crime rates increasing as well as over crowded prisons. This would also impact hospitals potentially placing a higher demand in those services causing even more unwanted issues. Listen, we would be losing a lot more money due to the ripple effect of this unwanted plan. The budget cuts will severely impact those who struggle with mental health issues rather it’s due to past trauma or if it’s day to day difficulties managing their thought process. These particular services are needed to help them learn to live productive lives in this world and aid in overall recovery. I personally service many young children up to transitional age youth who have used these types of services for years. The fact there is a possibility they won’t have access any longer is heartbreaking and unbearable to think of. These kids deserve to have the opportunity to obtain these services to help make sure their mental health needs are met.
It’s important that this information is shared amongst many helping educate about the current issues to those who are unaware. A budget resolution must be reached by November 1st. Allow your voice to be heard and call your legislatures and state your concerns. There will also be a rally next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m at the State Capital so please attend if you can.
Remember “Mental Health services not being available to access will cause issues to arise in other areas.” Let's prevent the worse and come together to help bring change Oklahoma!!
Helpful Links Provided by House Of Psych:
Save our Services Event: Rally at the Capitol
Contact your legislators
Oklahoma Department Of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Commissioner, Terri White: Press Conference
Oklahoma Health Care Authority: Statement on Budget Contingency Plan