OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A national report on mental illness gives Oklahoma a D grade, saying the state is not able to treat thousands of adults with this disease.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness report also gave a D to 11 other states and the nation as a whole.
``I agree. It could even be an F,'' Janis Mercer, executive director of the Jesus House in downtown Oklahoma City, said Wednesday.
``It's simply a mess trying to get efficient, streamlined mental health care ... especially if you're an Oklahoma adult without health insurance or financial resources.''
An estimated 216,300 Oklahomans 18 and older have a serious mental illness, including severe depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But only 54,750 get treatment, according to the Oklahoma Mental Health Consumer Council.
``Our system is too fragmented. Instead of getting basic services, many Oklahomans are self-medicating with alcohol and drugs,'' said Kaye Rote, executive director of the Oklahoma Mental Health Consumer Council.
Terry Cline, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse commissioner, said the state is making improvements despite shortcomings in state funds.
``I agree with their assessment,'' Cline said.
The national report said Oklahoma is ``now floundering to try to provide an adequate number of psychiatric beds'' for state residents with serious mental illnesses.
The report also noted:
``Oklahoma is slowly progressing and turning into a light of hope for the future, provided recent trends continue. To some degree, the fact that the state receives a D in this report card may be a reflection of how bad the system was before current improvements began.''
The report said too many Oklahomans with mental illness are jailed.