For State-Paid Treatment, Who Makes the Cut

Print More

Click here to read the Oklahoma Watch story, “Oklahoma’s Mental Health System: Get Sicker First.”

Click here to view a video report by our media partner, OETA’s Oklahoma News Report.


Mental Health Services

The state pays designated community mental health centers for treatment of people in the top two of four “illness severity” levels. The centers can use remaining state funds or their own donations to treat those in lower priority groups, but services are often limited.

Priority 1

  • People with psychosis who have severe or extreme functional impairment; includes those with bipolar disorder with psychosis, major depression with psychosis features, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders.
  • Those who pose a danger to self or others as a result of mental illness (“imminent” danger is not a requirement for outpatient services).
  • After-care for persons leaving psychiatric inpatient or crisis units.
  • People at risk of institutional placement or homelessness (e.g., mental health, jail, prison etc.) due to symptoms and behaviors resulting from a serious emotional disturbance or any mental illness. This includes adults being released from jail or prison or transition-age youth who initiated services prior to their 18th birthday or who are aging out of other public systems, such as child welfare or juvenile justice.

Priority 2

  • Individuals with the diagnostic disorders described above who have mild or moderate impairment.
  • Individuals with major mood disorders.
  • Individuals with anxiety disorders who have severe or extreme functional impairment.
  • Individuals not otherwise meeting the conditions above, but who have a mental illness and have children who are receiving mental health services (for the purposes of promoting the overall health of the entire family and preventing a worsening of the child’s situation).
  • Individuals not otherwise meeting the conditions above, but who have a mental illness and are victims of domestic violence or other trauma (for the purposes of early intervention due to the potential impact of trauma and preventing exacerbation of the mental illness). This includes military veterans.

Priority 3

  • Individuals with anxiety disorders who have mild or moderate functional impairment.

Priority 4

  • Individuals with other diagnoses who meet state mental health department criteria for serious mental illness.

Substance Abuse Services

The state will pay contracted substance abuse treatment centers to care for those in the top three of seven priority levels.

Priority 1
Pregnant women and injecting drug users.

Priority 2
Pregnant women and substance abusers.

Priority 3
Injecting drug users.

Priority 4
Drug-dependent persons with HIV/AIDS, if physically able to participate in the treatment program.

Priority 5
Women with dependent children.

Priority 6
Racial or ethnic minorities, a high-risk group.

Priority 7
Other individuals with substance dependence, abuse, and/or use disorders.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.