State Health Leaders Look To Build New Mental Health Facility In Tulsa

Monday, September 12th 2022, 5:17 pm

A new mental health hospital could be built in Tulsa using money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

The White House says ARPA is aimed at pumping more money into the economy and so state health leaders are hoping that Tulsa will get more money to help address the growing mental health crisis in northeast Oklahoma.

$4 million in American Rescue Plan funds have already been given to OSU medical center to create a new Veterans and Psychiatric hospital. Now, The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse has plans to build a new mental health hospital in Tulsa with more emergency grant money.

The state legislature and Governor still need to sign off on the plan, but Jeff Dismukes with the department says this could be a game changer.

"We can really make a difference when we get people the right services at the right time," Dismukes said. 

$38 million in ARPA funds will go to the hospital, which would have 106 beds and be built near the OSU Medical center downtown. Dismukes says these emergency services come at the right time, especially more than two years into the pandemic.

"Oklahoma has, for a long time now, had very high rates of mental illness and addiction throughout the state," Dismukes said. "COVID exacerbated those problems." 

Dismukes says he's optimistic this hospital plan will become reality because the need for mental health services in Northeast Oklahoma is significant, and he wants people to know help is on the way. 

"We must grow upon all of these gains that we've made to meet a need.....a need that has been there for a long time, and frankly a need that's growing right now," Dismukes said. 

Dismukes says if the plan is approved, the hospital COULD open as early as November of 2024.


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