TULSA, Okla. – Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) implores state legislators to take immediate action to fill the budget hole to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens receive necessary mental health care.
Today, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) announced devastating cuts of $75 million to 700 statewide agencies effective Dec. 1. This will eliminate every ODMHSAS and Medicaid funded outpatient behavioral health service in Oklahoma for adults and children. The only remaining funded services will include inpatient acute care and medication services. Without immediate resolution of the legislative gridlock, 189,000 Oklahomans and their families will suffer.
As the largest outpatient community mental health center in Oklahoma this impact would be catastrophic. F&CS provides comprehensive outpatient mental health care to nearly 18,000 adults with serious mental illness and 4,200 children with behavioral health disorders every year. Without legislative action all these services are in jeopardy.
As a result, F&CS fears an increase in human suffering, suicide, homicide, domestic violence, child abuse, homelessness and addiction. Affected Oklahomans, with no other alternatives, will turn to first responders, hospitals and emergency rooms for support. Many individuals will go untreated and possibly end up in jail. Public resources will be strained and public safety compromised. The quality of life in communities across the state will suffer.
All of this is avoidable if the legislature will fix this problem now. Lives depend on a swift solution. F&CS urges citizens to contact their elected officials immediately and demand the funding gap be addressed at the bare minimum of the needed $215 million dollars as they also address longer-term, sustained and adequate funding solutions for these essential services.
About Family & Children’s Services
Since 1925, Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. As the largest provider of behavioral health care in Oklahoma, we provide over 50 programs that heal hurting and abused children, strengthen families, and provide hope and a path to recovery for those battling mental illness and addiction. Last year, we served over 114,000 individuals.
Programs are offered through a network of nine convenient office locations in the Tulsa metro area. F&CS also provides access to services through our numerous partnerships, co-locations and embedded services within main institutions such as Salvation Army, Iron Gate, Tulsa City-County Library, Tulsa County District Courthouse, 49 public schools and 13 head start programs. This broad array of services allows us to provide life changing outcomes to one in six Tulsans each year.
Our variety of services include adult and children’s mental health services, counseling, substance abuse and addiction services, and Women-in-Recovery, an intensive outpatient alternative for women facing long prison sentences for non-violent, drug-related offenses. We teach families how to function at their best through family education; and our Employee Assistance Program provides confidential counseling for local businesses, helping employees deal with problems and work performance. We also oversee 24/7 crisis services including an inpatient crisis care center and respite service and Oklahoma’s suicide prevention hotline.
We give our clients hope, set them on a path to recovery and, in the process, make our community a better place for all. For more information visit our website at www.fcsok.org or call 918 587 9471.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY.
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OETA – Oklahoma will have to cut all in-patient mental health services if lawmakers don’t compromise on a deal to fill a budget hole. This will also mean the ending of drug and health courts which serve as a deterrent to incarceration. This story aired on the ONR on OETA-The Oklahoma Network. For more information, go to the ONR web site http://www.oeta.tv/programs/onr. For more about OETA-The Oklahoma Network, visit www.oeta.tv.