Our Advocacy and Public Policy program provides a neutral table around which individuals who access mental health services, families, professionals and community leaders meet to discuss systemic problems. Together we develop creative, mutually beneficial strategies for ensuring access to a full array of quality, integrated, community-based mental health services for Oklahomans in need.
When a community partner or our staff identify problems in the behavioral health system, we work with them to identify the root cause of the problems. Often, clients experience breakdowns in services because of an inaccurate interpretation of existing regulations, outdated laws or regulations, or nonexistent programs. Our community partners and staff refer these problems to us and we work with them to develop and implement these solutions, through legislation or changes to state regulations.
We collaborate with other agencies to raise awareness about treatment needs and inform legislators and legislative leadership about the impact of state funding on access to treatment in Oklahoma. We utilize methods, such as direct lobbying, rallies at the Capitol, editorials, and articles in statewide news media to raise awareness and influence decision makers so that all Oklahomans can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Through the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Advocacy Center, the Association has become a trusted voice in the realm of mental health public policy and advocacy.
We are unique as we actively lobby at the state and federal legislative and regulatory levels on behalf of people who receive services, and those who provide those services to them. This neutral approach allows us to focus on broad systemic goals and push for major system reforms that can often be disruptive to many stakeholders but provide the best long-term solution.
As a mental health advocate, you will help fight for the rights of people impacted by mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness in our state. Sign up for our Calls to Action and other advocacy-related emails that are targeted to keep you informed of the latest news in Oklahoma’s mental health landscape.