The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) Commissioner Terri White said she is hopeful the agency will be one of the few not receiving budget cuts this legislative session at a board meeting on Friday.
White hopes the support from Governor Mary Fallin will ensure a stable budget for the agency in the nest fiscal year.
In her inaugural speech, Fallin noted three of her priority areas: educational attainment, over-incarceration and health.
Two of these priority areas, White said, tie in to mental health and substance abuse issues.
“People are beginning to really see the connection around mental health and all the other issues,” said White. “I have been very involved in talking with the governor’s office and trying to explain [the importance of mental health and substance abuse issues] and luckily we continue to have support and understanding.”
A forum will be held on Tuesday, September 27 by Oklahoma Watch, focusing on a range of mental health issues.
The panelists include Steven Buck, deputy commissioner at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Mental Health Association Director Michael Brose. The topics will include the effects of mental illness in Oklahoma, including in prisons, and the obstacles to reducing mental illness. The event will be Kamp's 1910 Cafe, 10 N.E. 10th St., at 6 p.m.
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