The Mental Health Advocate Hub
The Alliance is the largest network of mental health providers in Oklahoma.
Did you know anyone can advocate for better mental health and substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma? The Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma provides tools and training that help regular citizens become seasoned mental health advocates. Our online Advocate Hub is still under construction, however, once it is completed, it will help you get involved and start advocating for better mental health and substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma.
Very soon the following resources will be available to help you become a better mental health advocate. Thank you for your patience and support!
Here are the top legislative issues affecting mental health and substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma. Read about each and then take action to support a positive outcome.
- The Alliance is a member of the Oklahomans Caring for Oklahomans Coalition. You can learn more about the work of the coalition here.
The following “Mental Health Opportunities” in the second session of the 58th Legislature (2022) have been identified by the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, a nonpartisan, dedicated team of policy and mental health experts who collaborate with state and local leaders to develop and advance innovative, data-informed policies and capacity-building approaches in the prevention and treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders for Oklahomans.
Ending Student Suicide
HB 4106 by Rep. Mark Vancuren (R-Owasso) and Sen. Dewayne Pemberton (R-Muskogee) ensures every school in Oklahoma has a protocol for responding to students in suicidal and mental health crises. These locally driven, evidence-based response plans would include support from, and coordination with, community behavioral health providers. Youth suicidality is at an all-time high, yet despite having procedures to protect students in other emergencies, schools are often unprepared to empower families to address the needs of a student experiencing a mental health crisis. (Healthy Minds Fact Sheet on HB 4106)
Aligning mental health spending and strategy
SB 295 by Sen. John Haste (R-Broken Arrow) and Rep. Marcus McEntire (R-Duncan) calls for an analysis of mental health spending across state agencies and requires inter-agency strategic collaboration on mental health services across state government. This alignment of spending and strategy will make more efficient use of state funding already allocated to mental health services. (Health Minds Fact Sheet on SB 295)
Clarifying mental health parity
SB 1413 by Sen. John Michael Montgomery (R-Lawton) and Rep. Chris Sneed (R-Fort Gibson) updates 2020 legislation requiring insurers to demonstrate their compliance with existing laws establishing parity between physical and mental health insurance coverage. The measure aligns state parity reporting requirements with federal requirements, making compliance easier for insurers and encouraging more transparent and useful reporting.
Mental health loan repayment
Oklahoma can begin to address shortages in its mental health workforce – overburdened and stretched thin by increased demand for services – by funding for the first time a loan repayment program. Previously authorized by the Mental Health Loan Repayment Act of 2019 (SB 773), the program could yield 50 critically needed professionals during the next five years with just $1 million in its first year of funding. (Healthy Minds Loan Repayment Appropriation Fact Sheet)
Legislators enter 2022 with $1.8 billion to spend from the state’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Investing even a small portion of this funding in behavioral health would have a long-lasting impact on our state. Proposals before legislative working groups include funding for mental health treatment beds across the state and an anti-stigma campaign proposed by Healthy Minds in partnership with multiple organizations. Addressing mental health stigma is a necessary and critical component of mental health expansion.
Other Key Issues, 2022
The Oklahoma Legislature provides an online tool to help you identify your legislators. Click here to use it.
Oklahomans died from a drug overdose between 1999-2016.
Number of Oklahoma Adults with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
Number of Oklahoma Adults with Any Mental Illness
A Word From Our Board President
In 2020, I joined leaders in mental health and substance abuse treatment across our state to create the Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma. We did this for one reason: To advocate for better mental health and substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma. Although together, we represent nearly 500 years of collective experience in this field, we need more than experience to care for Oklahomans. We need grassroots advocates like you to ensure local, state, and federal officials, including, but not limited to our elected leaders, provide adequate support and funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma.
We are tired of being at the bottom of all those lists. What they ultimately tell us is that things are getting worse, not better, and what that means is more people are hurting in Oklahoma than ever before. We can and will change that with your support.
Thank you for your interest in the Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma. There are four things you can do today to get started:
- Sign up for our newsletter via Substack. (You’re going to love it!)
- Sign up for our posts via Mailchimp.
- Follow us on Twitter.
- Follow us on Facebook.
Very soon, you’ll be able to join the Alliance and make donations to support our efforts. I look forward to engaging with you in person in the future!
Verna Foust, MS, LPC, LBP
CEO, Red Rock Behavioral Health Services
Oklahoma ranks among the worst states (45th out of 50) for a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care for adults. (Source)
Oklahoma ranks among the worst states (45th out of 50) for a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care for youth. (Source)
Oklahoma ranks 38 out of 50 states for access to mental health care within the state. This statistic takes into account access to insurance and treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and workforce availability.
1.5 Million ↑
Even before COVID-19, the prevalence of mental illness among adults was increasing. In 2017-2018, 19 percent of adults experienced a mental illness, an increase of 1.5 million people over last year’s dataset. (Source)
This land is your land.
This land is my land."
Woody Guthrie, 1940
4400 N. Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73105