Temporary Fix For Mental Health Services Doesn't Please All

Friday, October 20th 2017, 10:34 pm
By: News On 6

State lawmakers said they've come up with a temporary fix to prevent deep cuts to mental health and substance abuse services.

10/18/2017 Related Story: State Could Cut All Outpatient Mental Health & Substance Abuse Programs

Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said republicans will run a bill next week using $83 million in state reserves to fund agencies.  

Representatives will also ask the governor to use $23 million from the rainy day fund.  

The plan will continue to fund agencies until March of next year.

Democrats said it will leave the state in even worse shape.

Representative Jason Dunnington from District 88 said,  "We're looking at another $400 million deficit next session and so we're not even really talking about fixing the overall problem.  We're just talking about what kind of band-aid to use right now."

The governor's chief of staff has also warned that "whatever cash is used now will mean less flexibility and options for writing the fiscal year 2019 budget."

Thousands of Oklahoman’s almost lost important mental health services, leaving families looking for a more permanent solution. 

A mother is speaking out about the need for a solution not only for her kids but all children in our state. 

Just this week she found out her son was sexually assaulted, so the timing to keep funding available is even more critical. 

The Sand Springs mother said she and her husband are recovering drug addicts, and that their family has been dependent on therapy from Daybreak Services. 

It's been an emotional few days with a lot of fear about what they were going to do.

But she feels the treatment should never have been on the chopping block in the first place.

"I know from experience what trauma, and not having coping skills and how that affects you. So, to me it's almost a matter of life and death," she said.

189,000 Oklahomans would have lost services, so her family is far from alone.

Our state has some of the highest rankings in the nation for mental health and substance abuse disorders.