The Norman Transcript

Editorials

November 25, 2013

Treating mental health

NORMAN — For many years, Norman was the center for mental health treatment in Oklahoma. Central State Hospital, later renamed Griffin Hospital, was one of three mental hospitals serving the state.

With changes in treatment methods, community-based centers and better medications, fewer mental health patients required hospitalization. But for many, the state’s jails have becomer the new hospitals.

A panelist at as state forum on mental illness last week affirmed that theory.

“They’re our new institutions,” said Michael Brose, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma. “We’re all celebrating the closing of state hospitals and now we have them in jails.”

Drug courts, once thought of as a soft-on -crime approach, are now being sold on economics. A person in drug court pleads guilty but agrees to the diversion rather than jail time. They cost the state $5,000 a year rather than $19,000 a year while incarcerated.

The rate of recividism is also lower. Terri White, commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said less than 25 percent of drug court participants are re-arrested five years after graduation. For inmates who have served their time, 50 percent of them are re-arrested within five years.

The new Affordable Care Act requires insurance to cover mental health treatment but one of the problems in Oklahoma is lack of services. It’s also a lack of awareness. Many families don’t want to acknowledge mental illness and don’t seek treatment.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014