Mayor Randy McFarlin has issued a proclamation declaring May 2023 as Mental Health Awareness Month in the city of Ada. The proclamation aims to shift from the stigma associated with seeking mental health services, raise awareness of mental health issues and provide information on available resources for the community.
“Every citizen and community can make a difference in helping end the silence and shift from the stigma that too often surrounds mental health, addiction and trauma.” Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges said. “By declaring May as Mental Health Awareness Month, we hope to encourage conversations about mental health and see more help seeking behaviors for mental health challenges.”
Each year, nearly 300,000 Oklahomans report having a substance abuse disorder. Additionally, approximately 300 Oklahomans are admitted for urgent care or crisis mental health services. In the past year, 4.1% of adults in Oklahoma had serious thoughts of suicide, with one in 10 students reporting attempting suicide in the past 12 months.
Mental illness adversely affects thought processes, relationships, productivity and ability to adapt to change or face adversity. Early identification and treatment can make a profound difference in the successful management of mental illness and inspire recovery. There is safe, effective and lifesaving tools available to those in need. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) believes Oklahomans deserve to have mental health and addiction services within reach without fear of judgment and shame.
As part of this initiative, the city of Ada is partnering with ODMHSAS to promote available community resources, including the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline. 988 is a free and confidential service that provides immediate support to anyone experiencing a mental health need, all starting with a simple call or text.
Launched in July 2022, 988 offers immediate responses during mental health crises by a local certified behavioral health specialist. Any person can call or text 988 if experiencing a mental health emergency, seeking guidance for a mental health situation or looking to gain insight on navigating concerns for a friend or loved one.
Since its launch, 988 has received an average of more than 3,500 calls and texts per month. “Seeing this many people utilizing 988 to reach out for help in times of need provides hope for the future of our community,” Slatton-Hodges continued. “Oklahoma is regarded as an industry innovator and is leading the nation’s launch of the 988 Mental Health Lifeline, creating the most comprehensive crisis response continuum in the nation that leverages technology and alternative to law enforcement. This is something we all should be proud to claim.”
Throughout the month of May, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and 988 will share resources and information related to mental health on its website and through social media channels. The department will also host events and activities focused on mental health awareness throughout the month. More information can be found at https://988oklahoma.com/mental-health-awareness-month/.
Mental Health Awareness Month provides an opportunity for all members of the community to work together to support mental health and promote wellness. Together we can create a healthier, more resilient community.
For more information about Oklahoma’s 988 Mental Health Lifeline and resources, visit 988Oklahoma.com.
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