White Chosen To Lead Mental Health Department

Friday, March 23rd 2007, 8:41 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Terri White has been promoted to commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

White, who is the agency's director of communications and public policy, will take over as commissioner on May 13. She replaces Terry Cline, who left in December after being nominated by President Bush to become administrator of the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

White, who was selected Wednesday during a special meeting of the state Board of Mental Health, said her goal is to ensure "that every Oklahoman in need has the opportunity to recover from mental illness or addiction."

"In Oklahoma, we have thousands of nonviolent prisoners in our criminal justice system who could benefit from substance abuse or mental health treatment," White said in a statement. "Families have been ripped apart, children are missing school and lives are being lost, needlessly, due to these illnesses.

"Without sufficient services, Oklahomans will continue to suffer. As commissioner, I will do everything in my power to see that adequate services are provided and utilized."

Rand Baker, the deputy commissioner for mental health services, has served as interim commissioner since Cline left.