City Leaders Break Ground On New Oklahoma Psychiatric Care Center

A new multimillion-dollar Psychiatric Care Center facility will soon be in Tulsa. City and state leaders were present for Thursday's groundbreaking and talked about what this means for helping with Oklahoma's mental health crisis.

Friday, March 31st 2023, 8:05 pm


Having an Oklahoma Psychiatric Care Center in Downtown Tulsa is one step closer to reality.

The new multimillion-dollar facility is owned by OSU but will be operated by the state. City and state leaders went to Thursday's groundbreaking and told us what this means for helping with Oklahoma's mental health crisis. First Lady Sarah Stitt said the silver lining of the pandemic, is it has increased our conversations about addiction and mental health treatment and reduced the stigma.

“It also helped raise awareness that mental health doesn't have to look like one thing. It's a broad spectrum and it also gave us the ability to look and watch our community members and our family members for struggles that maybe in the past they were able to hide as they suffered in silence,” said First Lady Sarah Stitt. “[…] I hear terrible stories from Oklahoma families about ‘I had no idea’ and ‘my son’ or ‘my daughter’ or ‘my aunt took their own life.’ ‘I had no idea they were struggling,’ and that's where the community has to play a part. We have to raise up our head out of our own situation and look around us to the community members and family members and coworkers that are suffering and help find them quality access to the healthcare, the behavioral health, the addiction recovery that they need, and this hospital is a difference maker."

She said this center will be a place of hope for them. Nearly everyone agrees, creating a new mental health clinic in Tulsa is much needed.

"It's been a generation since we built anything for mental health in Tulsa,” said Johnny Stephens, President of OSU Center for Health Sciences.

"We know that we have a bright future. We have innovation here in our state that will continue and really fight the battle to make an impact on this epidemic across the nation but more importantly in our state and for our Oklahomans. And that's what I want people to know. We don't need to settle to be a statistic anymore and now we have community partners. We have the state government and lawmakers all linking arms and saying no longer are we gonna settle for this,” said Sarah Stitt.

The 140,000-square-foot Oklahoma Psychiatric Care Center will have 106 beds, which is double the number of current beds. The 70 million dollars comes from a combination of donations, city, county, state, and federal funds. Plus, an additional $16 million will go toward upkeep, security, and parking.

First Lady Sarah Stitt said it's hard to bring someone to a rundown facility and convince them, it’s the place where they're going to get better.

"When you are having to take a loved one and commit them, against their will a lot of times, it is heart-wrenching. It is heartbreaking for them as well as the family members and you have a heavy load placed on you. But when you're walking them and you're leaving them in a place where you think I wouldn't want to leave my worst enemy here, it's even harder,” said Sarah Stitt.

The President of the OSU Center for Health Sciences said it’s inspiring to see the entire state make a commitment to mental health. He said better work conditions will encourage more healthcare workers to stay in state, and the hospital is an educational opportunity with 50 new residency spots.

“We're gonna be able to turn out that many more physicians in Northeast Oklahoma and the state of Oklahoma,” said Stephens.

Plus, it'll help law enforcement.

"Law enforcement a lot of times has to wait 2, 3, 4, 5 hours at an emergency room to get clearance or to get the patient admitted. This will be a 5-10 minute drop off for law enforcement to bring someone in who doesn't need to be in jail; they need mental health help,” said Stephens.


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