|Updated: 12/19/2012 10:15 am
||Published: 12/18/2012 8:27 pm
As more victims in Newtown, Connecticut are laid to rest, the focus in cities across America including in Green Country has turned to preventing a tragedy like this from happening again.
Right now, there are many questions about the mental health of Adam Lanza, the man who shot 27 people to death before turning the gun on himself.
Mental health experts in Tulsa understand the questions, and when something like this happens, they expect them.
The Mental Health Association in Tulsa said Tuesday it's flat out wrong to assume everyone with a mental illness is violent, and it's also wrong to assume we're doing everything we can in Tulsa to protect those people.
They are hard to escape, reports about the mental state of accused Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, and many aren't arguing with what they've read.
“For someone to do that it's just, someone in their right mind just wouldn't do something like that,” Tulsa mom Lydia Clopton said.
For the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, that's what he fears most.
“It's so tempting to sort of blame it on a mental illness when there's so many more factors, and it's so much more complex than that,” Michael Brose told FOX23.
Brose worries while people point fingers; they're losing sight of a problem that could affect us all; more people with mental health issues in the Sooner State and not enough beds to treat them.
“In the state of Oklahoma, if you don't have high end insurance, good luck. You're going to have a very, very difficult time accessing (help for your illness) because we have such a shortage of that.”
He says in Tulsa, the problem is especially bad.
“We have significantly, less than half, the number of beds that are available to people in the Oklahoma City area.”
18 more beds are scheduled to be available in Tulsa to help mental health patients next year, but Brose says those beds will only fix half the problem.
The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors said mental health funding in Oklahoma has increased from $136 Million per year in 2001 to $198 Million a year in 2010, but that 2010 number is about four percent lower than in 2009, and they expect another slight dip this year.
“What we have in Oklahoma is some really high quality services,” Brose said, “What we lack in Oklahoma is enough of those services.”
The Tulsa Police Department’s Mental Health Liaison said in October of this year, the department set a record for the most mental health patient transports out of Tulsa County. 44 times they sent people to places like Lawton, Oklahoma City, and McAlester.