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Oklahoma Mental Health Agency "in Crisis Mode"


The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is now in crisis mode, reports KFOR. The agency has fallen $20 million behind budget. But when you account for the fact that the agency lost out on federal Medicaid matching funds, the budget gap is more like $60 million.

Just this month alone, the Oklahoma mental health agency had to trim $14 million from its budget. That means 70,000 mental health and substance abuse patients had their therapy services cut. These include many Oklahomans with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, for example. In some parts of the state, police are already seeing the effects of the budget cuts firsthand.

Commissioner Terri White explained: “When people can't get the [mental] healthcare they need, they often end up in the back of a police car, the inside of a jail cell, inside of a prison cell.”