'I Am Very Passionate': City Of Tulsa Hires First Chief Mental Health Officer

At the top of the year, the City of Tulsa hired its first ever Chief Mental Health Officer. It's part of the Mayor's Office of Resilience and Equity. Doctor Rebecca Hubbard joins us on Six In The Morning to talk about her new role.

Thursday, February 29th 2024, 10:21 am

By: News On 6


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At the top of the year, the City of Tulsa hired its first ever Chief Mental Health Officer. It's part of the Mayor's Office of Resilience and Equity. Doctor Rebecca Hubbard joins us on Six In The Morning to talk about her new role.

What has your first month of Chief Mental Health Officer been like?

"I've been getting acclimated, of course, to all of the responsibilities and expectations and hopes for the city. Mostly meeting with partners across the city to gauge where they're at, what their hopes are, what their dreams and goals are, what their next steps are. Meeting with both behavioral health partners as well as city partners like Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa Fire Department, Tulsa Health Department. Also developing some programmatic efforts that we have that we've received funding for. So we received a federal grant for Children's Mental Health Initiative. And so we have been working to get that up and running. It's a Systems of Care grant directly to Tulsa, which is huge, because it allows us to build processes and engagement that really works for Tulsa families and children," Dr. Hubbard said.

What is your background in mental health work?

"I am very passionate. So I have degrees in psychology, counseling and Human Development and Family Science. I have worked in domestic violence, developmental disabilities, with families, with substance use disorder. Pretty much anything related to human development and mental health, I have engaged in those types of services. I've been a therapist. And I've worked as a director of education and prevention promotion. I've done legislative consultation, and advocacy. So I've really kind of tried to address mental health at all the systems. And that's what I continue to do. So you have that individual, within the family, within the community, kind of that local community. And then you have that larger, societal, cultural, policy construct that also plays a part. And I try to address mental health at all of those levels," Dr. Hubbard explained.

What are your goals to improve mental health in Tulsa?

"Well, there are so many efforts that are already happening. And I'm working with those as well. So the fire and police response to crisis in the city, I'm working to help support them," Dr. Hubbard continued. "Some specific efforts we're going to be working on hopefully are related around substance and opioid use disorder. So really getting out in front of that helping prevent overdoses, helping people get into sustained recovery, using critical time interventions, those kinds of things. We're also working on efforts to continue to work with people around their genealogy and understanding when they get feedback on what their ancestry is, and what comes with that. So that's an exciting initiative that we're working on that will fall under me. And I'm really curious to see where that takes us. Just continuing to work with various partners. There's so much that was already going on. I don't know that we're really creating anything from the ground up, although there might be some efforts there. I think ultimately, it's coming in and helping partners find their ways to kind of fit together. So that we are this one cohesive response for the individuals out there that are needing help," Dr. Hubbard said.

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