Saturday, February 4, 2023

Alternative mental health transportation model marks one year in Oklahoma – FOX23 News

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A brand new behavioral health transportation model helps remove the stigma and progress the decriminalization of mental health.

Oklahoma has carried out a statewide method to psychiatric transport companies. November marked the one-year anniversary to Oklahoma implementing this method, the primary state in the nation to take action.

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The regulation permits the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) the flexibility to move folks coping with a mental health emergency, a duty regulation enforcement beforehand held.

“The back of a police car is not the best place for someone experiencing a mental health crisis,” stated ODMHSAS Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges. “Oklahoma has found a way to change this approach, which creates a perception of criminality that, in turn, furthers a reluctance among many to ask for help before crisis occurs.”

Since the method was carried out, ODMHSAS contractors have made greater than 12,000 transports. This saved time for police to reply to different non-mental health-related emergencies.

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This program permits contractors to move folks to mental health amenities exterior a 30-mile radius of regulation enforcements jurisdiction. Law enforcement continues to be required to supply transport if somebody wants pushed to a facility inside that 30-mile radius.

“Because of our location, Wagoner is the only facility we take anyone to now that is inside that radius,” stated Muskogee Police Department Deputy Chief Chad Farmer. “It is much closer and only takes about 15-20 minutes, compared to traveling to someplace like Lawton or Ponca City or Enid. Having to go outside that radius really put us in a bind, because we don’t have that many officers on the street and we’d have to call somebody out of service to transport, so this has helped us a bunch.”

ODMHSAS works inside the current regionally primarily based remedy system to dispatch transport companies larger than 30 miles for these in want of acute psychiatric remedy, stated Slatton-Hodges.

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“Providing safe, secure transportation that is trauma-informed and focused on the individual’s recovery is the ultimate goal of change,” stated Slatton-Hodges.

Law enforcement has advocated for this alteration and supported the implementation of this method.

Muskogee Police Department handles a considerable amount of mental health-related calls. With police beforehand required to move sufferers to accessible amenities, they’ve been required to pay extra time, name in further officers and pay further for gasoline, Farmer stated.

“We constantly have mental health calls in Muskogee,” he stated. “From a patrol and financial standpoint, in the past, we used to have to take people to Enid or Ponca City, sometimes Lawton, so we are saving in time, travel and overtime costs.”

For extra information in regards to the new transportation system, how the method works and regional

transport service choices, go to the ODMHSAS website.

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