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Comprehensive Crisis Response

What is 988?

988 is a direct, three-digit line to trained behavioral health professionals that can open the door for all Oklahomans to seek the help they need, while sending the message that healing, hope and help are happening every day. The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to establish 988 and turns it on nationally July 1, 2022. 988 is the first step to a multi-level crisis response.


Urgent Care and Crisis Centers are places of stabilization and offer the community a no wrong door access to mental health and substance use care. These facilities operate similar to a hospital emergency department that accepts all walk-ins, ambulance, fire and police drop-offs. The need to say yes to mental health crisis referrals, including working with persons of varying ages and clinical conditions regardless of acuity, informs program staffing, physical space, structure and use of chairs and recliners in addition to beds, offering flexible capacity and flexibility within a given space.

These facilities provide assessment and support, and are staffed 24/7/365 with a multidisciplinary team. This team includes but is not limited to psychiatrists, nurses, licensed behavioral health practitioners and peers with lived experience similar to the population served.


Many individuals in crisis brought to hospital emergency departments for stabilization report experiencing increased distress and worsening symptoms due to noise and crowding, limited privacy in the triage area and being attended to by staff who have little experience with psychiatric crisis care. Individuals receiving crisis services at an Urgent Care or Crisis Center are often de-escalated by trained professionals and stabilized without needing further acute levels of care.

Data suggests that 85-90% of individuals in crisis that utilize an Urgent Care Center program can safely be cared for and stabilized within 24 hours. If further treatment is needed, an individual is transferred to the Crisis Center side of the program where 93% of folks are stabilized and do not require a hospital bed.


The cost of Urgent Care and Crisis Center care is substantially less than the costs of inpatient care and accompanying emergency department medical clearance charges.


As part of the FY2020 reinvestment opportunities, the ODMHSAS has proposed startup costs for an additional 7 Urgent Care and Crisis Centers, estimated at $7.5 million. Establishing additional programs like these across the state will allow more individuals an opportunity to receive appropriate levels of treatment, connect with local outpatient treatment providers and save taxpayers the costs of higher-priced hospitalizations and uncoordinated mental health treatment.

Last Modified on Mar 05, 2021
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