Press Releases

Congresswoman Horn Announces Town Hall Focusing on Mental Health and Recovery

Washington, DC, September 23, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY - Congresswoman Kendra Horn announced she will hold a town hall meeting with state and local experts on mental health and recovery Monday, September 30, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at NorthCare Pete White Health and Wellness Center at 4021 S. Walker Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73109.

The panel will discuss efforts to reduce stigma for treatment, connecting with quality service providers, and pathways to opportunities for recovery. This is an open event with free childcare provided. Live Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation will be available.

"Oklahomans live with the consequences of addiction and mental illness every day, whether it is our friends, our families, or ourselves suffering, said Congresswoman Horn. “Our state has some of the highest rates of substance abuse and behavioral health issues in the country. Fewer than one third of Oklahomans who need mental health treatment have the access they need.”

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Horn introduced a bipartisan bill with Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) to help law enforcement agencies access behavioral health training. H.R. 2698, The Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019, provides grants to law enforcement departments at the state, local, territorial and tribal levels to obtain behavioral health crisis response training. The Horn-Gonzalez bill was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

Law enforcement agencies are the most common first responders to behavioral health crises, even though many departments lack funding needed to train officers to recognize and de-escalate mental health crises. One in ten police calls involve a person experiencing mental illness. One in four people killed by police are experiencing mental health crisis. People with untreated mental illness are sixteen times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than other civilians, according to a study by the Treatment Advocacy Center.

“Adverse Childhood Experiences contribute to the rising rates in our state. Every day our first responders encounter people in crisis.” Horn said. “There are not enough beds and services, so people often end up in jail rather than receive treatment. In worse case scenarios, these situations turn violent and result in the loss of life. I hear these struggles every day from hard-working and responsible Oklahomans committed to improving our state."  

State and local leaders on the panel include Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert, former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and current Executive Director of TEEM Kris Steele, President of Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Dr. Kayse M. Shrum, and Northcare Communications Specialist Kaitlynn Wilkinson. Northcare CEO Randy Tate will welcome the audience to the event.