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Rep Kendra Horn explores mental health solution at southside town hall - 10/2/2019

Monday night Oklahoma 5th District Representative Kendra Horn held a town hall on mental health but ended up answering a lot of questions about the possible impeachment of President Trump.

That evening, she joined panel members she had invited to a town hall on mental health issues as a way of publicly brainstorming the needs of the communities within the 5th District which includes most of Oklahoma City, Edmond and most of Pottawatomie and Seminole counties to the southeast of the metro.

The event was at Northcare Pete White Health and Wellness Center at 4021 S. Walker Ave and their meeting room was full and with some standing along the walls.

 “The panel will discuss efforts to reduce stigma for treatment, connecting with quality service providers, and pathways to opportunities for recovery,” said an email from Horn’s office for the event.

The panel included Terri White, commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Kayse M. Shrum, D.O., President of OSU Center for Health Sciences; Kris Steele, executive director of The Education and Employment Ministry, (TEEM); Carrie Blumert, Oklahoma County commissioner; and, Kaitlynn Wilkinson, communications specialist for Northcare.

“Mental health is overall health,” said Horn in her opening remarks. “Mental Health cannot be separated from the rest of our physical health.”

Terri White with ODMH gave some jarring numbers about mental health in Oklahoma.

Every year one in every four Oklahomans struggle with some sort of mental health and addiction problem.

But, only one in three who needs help will actually access help.

She said that “amazing things happen” for people who do seek treatment.

“Lives are saved. Lives are transformed. Parents return to their children. Sisters, mothers, daughters, friends return to their families. People are productive and working.”

White said that the problem is that too often those services come only when there is a crisis like an attempted suicide.

County Commissioner Blumert told of the various community service proposals that have been included in the MAPS 4 package that voters will decide to accept or reject on December 10.

Programs like Palomar and the Diversion hub were just a few of the several programs Blumert explained.

At another point in the panel, Blumert was critical of District Attorneys across the state who continue to lock up people as though they are healthy people who have decided to commit criminal behavior.

Blumert said that the DAs are a part of the problem Oklahoma has in locking up large numbers of people who actually should be getting treatment for mental illness.

She encouraged those present to seriously do research and ask questions the next time there is a district attorney race in Oklahoma, which will be in 2022.





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