Tulsa Regional Mental Health Improvement Plan

Flickr User Ryan Melaugh, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Oklahomans' mental health, a researcher told the Tulsa City Council on Wednesday. 

"It's not that COVID has changed the mental health interventions we know we need," said Zack Stoycoff, executive director of the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, during a virtual meeting of the council's urban and economic development committee. "COVID has increased the need for the interventions we've known about for a lot of years."

It's taken a while for this particular truth to sink in, but America finally seems to be waking up to it: People with mental illness don't need to be locked up -- they need to be treated. On this edition of our show, we speak with journalist Alisa Roth, whose new book, "Insane," is a well-regarded and quite alarming exposé of the mental health crisis now facing our courts, jails, and prisons. As was noted  of this book by The New York Times Book Review: "Chilling.... Roth writes movingly of the human toll of incarceration....

One in seven adults has a mental illness, and one in 20 has a serious mental illness. Nearly 90,000 Tulsa County adults need treatment for severe mental illness but there isn't enough funding. Untreated mental illness is extremely costly to the state of Oklahoma. The compounding factors are complex and the solutions often seem bleak, so where do we go from here?