Skip to main content

ODMHSAS Increases Alternative Transportation Services to Meet Oklahomans Where They Are

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services (ODMHSAS) can now deploy mobile crisis services and transport those experiencing behavioral health issues, rather than law enforcement.

Previously, ODMHSAS provided these services in variety of ways, but with the passage of SB 12X, there are now less restrictions and more funding dedicated to crisis transportation. 

“Before SB 12X was passed, ODMHSAS built a statewide alternative to law enforcement transportation called RideCARE. That service was offered when a person in crisis was greater than 30 miles away from a facility,” said ODMHSAS Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges. “We were the first in the nation to build that type of service. This new law removes the travel radius and allows us to expand our current program.”

In just over a year, RideCARE has transported more than 14,000 Oklahomans experiencing psychiatric crisis and logged more than 1.5 million miles. 

“This has saved police and sheriffs’ departments statewide hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and car repair costs, as well as unnecessarily pulling officers off the streets for hours at a time,” said Commissioner Slatton-Hodges.

ODMHSAS is currently designing a staffing and rollout plan to increase transportation services.  

Prior to law enforcement intervention

Oklahomans can also call or text the 988 Mental Health Lifeline should they need to speak with someone directly. The 988 line was created to help any and all people who are struggling, with recently monthly volume reaching around 4,000 calls a month.  

“A trained behavioral health expert answers most calls within 10 seconds,” said Commissioner Slatton-Hodges. “We offer a mobile crisis response option through 988 and in May 2023 dispatched our teams 288 times.”

Bonnie Campo

Sr. Director of Public Relations

Back to Top