Nearly 58 percent of Oklahoma’s suicides last year involved firearms. Mental-health experts say that so-called “red flag” laws, which allow police to even temporarily confiscate guns if a person poses a risk to themselves or others, could help lower the state’s stubbornly high suicide rate.
Oklahoma Watch will host a public forum on Monday, April 3, in Tulsa on what can be done to address the continuing epidemic of fatal drug overdoses involving not only prescription painkillers, but now also black-market methamphetamine and heroin.
Law enforcement agencies are bearing much of the brunt of dealing with mentally ill people in crisis. But a unique new program is trying to take some of that burden away from police and prevent the mentally ill from unnecessarily ending up in jail.
The idyllic images of rural Oklahoma conceal a deep struggle with substance abuse and mental illness. With this overview, Oklahoma Watch launches an ongoing series, titled “Unsettled Country,” on mental health in rural areas of the state.