Incarceration is TOO BIG TO IGNORE

Incarceration is TOO BIG TO IGNORE

Incarceration is TOO BIG TO IGNORE

By Lindsay McAteer

When my son, Talon, was born five years ago, my house was in foreclosure, I hadn’t worked for six years, and I was facing 12 years to life for drug trafficking.

I give thanks every day that my life, and the life of my son, weren’t thrown away to incarceration. Instead, I was diverted out of prison and into treatment. Today, I’m balancing my full-time job with the Mental Health Association Oklahoma, challenging masters-level business courses and motherhood.

Other Oklahomans impacted by mental illness and addiction haven’t been so lucky.

Incarceration is TOO BIG TO IGNORE because the fact is Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state. And out of those entering the Department of Corrections for non-violent offenses, 82 percent need mental health or substance use treatment. This is unacceptable.

I personally know when you have a felony conviction, attaining competitive employment is almost impossible. But through the Association’s Employment First program, I went from working as a part-time receptionist almost four years ago to being among the top-level staff in the leasing department.

I always wanted to go as far as I could in school. When my addiction really took a grip over my life, those dreams died. In my recovery, my lost dreams have reawakened. I’m now in graduate school. I’m pursuing an MBA and I expect to graduate next year.

I know that my son is going to be very proud of me one day when he understands the journey that I’ve been on. When I one day see him off to college, I just know that everything will be because of the opportunities I’ve been given. Had I gone to prison for my crimes and because of my disease, we would never have had any of these opportunities, nor would I have ever been able to be a part of his life.

Join Me May 16 in Tulsa at the Stepping Up Day of Action!

I am honored to be among the speakers at Tulsa County’s Stepping Up Day of Action on May 16. Along with Sheriff Vic Regalado and others, we’ll bring awareness to people impacted by mental illness who are incarcerated.  Please come show your support and attend the 10 am press conference at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, 303 West First Street.

Learn More


Follow our series featuring stories containing information about how you can engage, take action and make a difference.

We have Tulsa & OKC May Events!

May 15 in Tulsa: QPR Suicide Prevention Training

Join us at 6 pm in the Pecan Room at Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 East 93rd Street in Tulsa. Learn how to ask a question and save a life from suicide. During this free suicide prevention training known as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), you’ll learn warning signs of suicide and ways to walk alongside someone as they connect to services. Like CPR, the more people that are trained the more equipped we are as a community to help someone in need. Invite a friend or family member to come with you!

Sign Me Up!

 

May 16 in Tulsa: Stepping Up Day of Action

Tulsa County is hosting a Stepping Up Day of Action on May 16 to bring awareness to people impacted by mental illness who are incarcerated. Show your support and attend the 10 am press conference at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, 303 West First Street.

Learn More

 

May 18: Cycling Housing Tour in OKC

You like cycling? Get in your daily cycling workout and learn how we’re ending homelessness in OKC … it’s a win-win!

Join us at 6 pm to go on a unique cycling housing tour. Meet us in the parking lot of our peer-run drop-in center, Lottie House, 1311 N. Lottie Ave, in Oklahoma City.

Hop on your bike for an Association housing tour co-led by our friend, Kenneth. He will help map the route and lead the way. Kenneth has a mental illness and uses cycling to balance his mental health and daily recovery. He is an amazing mental health advocate. We will stop at a few of our properties and take a short tour.

This is your chance to see the housing and hear from some amazing people who have overcome homelessness.

Sign Me Up!

 

May 22: Housing Tour in Tulsa

Learn how we’re ending homelessness in Tulsa!

Join us at 11:45 am to go on a unique housing tour. Meet us at Boston Avenue Methodist Church, 1301 South Boston Avenue. Let’s meet in the church’s parking lot in front of the Jubilee Hall south door.  This is your chance to see the Association’s housing and hear from some amazing people who have overcome homelessness.

People often ask us how are we ending homelessness. We’ve found the best way to explain it is to simply show you.

Our tour will take just over an hour and you’ll get to hear firsthand how our housing works and why Tulsa has a nationally recognized housing model. Tulsa is among the elite communities across the country working to end chronic and veteran homelessness, and providing critical recovery supports for people impacted by homelessness and mental illness.

Sign Me Up!

 

May 22: Cycling Housing Tour in Tulsa

You like cycling? Get in your daily cycling workout and learn how we’re ending homelessness in Tulsa … it’s a win-win!

Join us May 22 at 6 pm to go on a unique cycling housing tour. Meet us in the parking lot of our peer-run drop-in center, Denver House, at 252 West 17th Place in Tulsa.

Hop on your bike for an Association housing tour co-led by our friend, Kenneth. He will help map the route and lead the way. Kenneth has a mental illness and uses cycling to balance his mental health and daily recovery. He is an amazing mental health advocate. We will stop at a few of our properties and take a short tour. This is your chance to see the housing and hear from some amazing people who have overcome homelessness.

Sign Me Up!

 

May 23 in OKC: QPR Suicide Prevention Training

Join us at noon in Oklahoma City at DC on Film Row community event space. Bring your lunch or buy it at the food truck Murphy’s Cook Shack that will be there and learn how to ask a question and save a life from suicide. During this free suicide prevention training known as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), you’ll learn warning signs of suicide and ways to walk alongside someone as they connect to services. Like CPR, the more people that are trained, the more equipped we are as a community to help someone in need. Invite a friend or family member to come with you!

Sign Me Up!

 

Give For May is Mental Health Month!

Our #TooBigToIgnore campaign for May is Mental Health Month is an awareness campaign that focuses on some of the dire issues our state is facing. The Association is on the frontlines of working on solutions to these issues and we cannot do it without you! Your gift will continue to help us provide life-changing programs and services for people impacted by mental illness, suicide, homelessness and criminal justice.

We can’t make a difference in people’s lives without your generous support!

Give Today

 

NOTE: This is the third of five stories in our May is Mental Health Month TOO BIG TO IGNORE series. These stories emphasize the fact that too many Oklahomans ignore mental illness, homelessness, suicide and the fact that our jails and prisons have become de facto institutions. Oftentimes, it’s only when one or more of these dire issues impact our friends, co-workers and loved ones that people finally take notice. This is why we cannot — and will not — stop making this message heard loud and clear in our communities, the halls of the Capitol, and in every Oklahomans’ living room.

 

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