By-God, Jim Inhofe is going to solve Oklahoma’s mental health crisis!

Great news, my fellow Oklahomans! Our esteemed Senator Jim Inhofe is taking a break from tweeting about cheeseburgers and taking the initiative to solve the mental health crisis in Oklahoma!

Well, its certainly a plan, I guess.

However I have a few questions about the implementation, including…

  1. Why fund a private Christian college?

Now the last time I was running a price comparison on counseling psychology degree programs was back in 2014, but from what I recall private college cost a cubic effton more than your state programs. I know UCO doesn’t award Master of science degrees “focused on Bible principles” like MACU. But would it not be more cost-effective to fund a state school?

  1. How are a dozen new clinicians going to save the mental health crisis?

Counseling psychology graduate school cohorts are typically capped at around a dozen folks per year to make sure that students are getting an attentive, meaningful education. If you’re just bolstering one program, you can’t expect an annual increase of 12 new therapists to solve Oklahoma’s whole mental health crisis. Instead, let nature take its course. Allow them to burn out like those who have come before by overworking them so they can make enough money to counteract Oklahoma’s Medicaid cuts. Speaking of which…

  1. How are you going to pay them once they’ve graduated?

Having more therapists is an awesome idea. However, last I checked over the years the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has lost millions in funding. So once these newly-minted therapists are ready to practice, how the actual f*ck will they get paid to work? I know folks don’t start a career in mental health for the pay, but you can’t eat clinical notes.

Now, I am all for improving the mental health care system in Oklahoma not only because the cuts to Medicaid have hurt an already vulnerable population of folks in this state, but also because more Oklahomans died by suicide in 2020 than any other year and since March 2020 mental health problems are up about 40%. But I also think there are better ways to address Oklahoma’s ongoing mental health crisis, including…

  1. F*cking pay therapists

Look, I know I’m biased because when I’m not writing Pulizter-level material for TLO I moonlight in the mental health care field, but you are going to have to pay therapists if you want them to remain to be therapists. The increase in mental health-related struggles throughout the pandemic have overworked an already underfunded system, leading mental health care providers to burnout like crazy. If you want empathetic, educated professionals to choose a career in mental health, you’re going to have to either offer student loan forgiveness or pay them more than $29,000 per year and work them less than 60 hours per week. In other words, ya’ll state leaders need to…

  1. Stop defunding Medicaid

Seriously, stop it. Every time ya’ll pass another initiative that decreases funding to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, we as a society have to generate at least 4,200 thoughts and prayers to make up for it.

  1. Improve Oklahoman’s quality of life

Food, housing, and medical care are mental health care. To improve mental health care in Oklahoma, we not only need to improve access to therapy services, but also raise the minimum wage to reflect at least the minimum amount of money it takes to survive in the state. I think Oklahomans would gladly sign off on limiting tax credits to the OKC Thunder and state-funded trips to Azerbaijan if it meant they could afford to feed their families without worrying if they’d be better off without them.

Hayley consulted on this article. Then made some updates because she goofed. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek and become a contributing member of TLO here.

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15 Responses

  1. Inhofe, an embarrassment that never stops.

  2. “MACU will . . . ultimately increase the lack of mental health counselors throughout the state.”

    Increase the lack? Doesn’t that mean there will be even fewer counselors?

  3. Well said, Hayley.

  4. Who would know better than a certified nut-case about mental health?

  5. Hayley, it’s so great to see you get to “write what you know.” This is a fantastic piece, and I hope you have the opportunity to write more like it.

  6. Is MACU a real “thing”? I thought that was just a horse barn.

    1. I thought it was a repurposed fast-food joint.

  7. Hmmm…. Is Inhofe’s ask to be included in the Democrats’ not-yet-written multi-trillion-dollar package of “soft infrastructure” spending that is working its way through Congress? The one that no Republican will vote for, especially not Inhofe? It would be awfully cynical of him to ask for a grant that he intends to vote against. And equally cynical to take credit for it after he votes against it.

    Am I hopelessly clueless because I have never before heard of Mid-America Christian University? If I were seeking a counselor, I would need to stay far away from an ultra-religious conservative one from MACU whose worldview is the polar opposite of my own. I hope that any future licensees advertise truthfully.

    Good article, Hayley!

    1. Graychin,

      If you only knew what state agencies are paying “graduates” from MACU and the University of Phoenix, you would poop your pants. It’s far more that what many state college graduates are making in many cases.

  8. Don’t bother, Jim Inhofe! Making it possible to graduate from a private Christian college in any field just makes more people go bats*it crazy; the cost is prohibitive anyway! I don’t want religion coming down on me in addition to some therapist preaching at me. Why don’t you just ignore Oklahoma, like you have been for 30 years? We don’t need your “help!”

    1. Oh, Denise! You nailed it!! In a state where there is no separation of church and state, of course stool specimens such as Inhofe think that mental health and religion are a positive pairing.

    2. Appears you don’t have a house on Grand Lake?

  9. Inhofe is only now figuring out that the state has been having a mental health crisis? Talk about being out-of-touch with your constituent base…

  10. This is nothing more than a blueprint on how to funnel tax payer dollars into Jim’s pocket for retirement bc you know, greed.

  11. So now the Senator for Life has discovered the mental health challenge in Oklahoma. He could have done so eleven years ago when Obamacare first became available. It took a vote of our citizens to finally force the legislature to act and then our Supreme Court had to strike down its putrid effort as inadequate. God, these Republicans spend so much time in court fighting efforts by others to follow the law and now the “new” litigator on the scene is also a non lawyer… Governor Kevin Stitt. No telling how much of your money he’s blown on suing our tribal partners over gaming but it is at least $2 million and more likely above $3 million. And his newest foolishness is challenging the Supreme Court ruling called the McGirt case, one he is guaranteed to lose primarily because he is wrong on the substance and has also put his new Attorney General in charge on it. Only if Stitt wrote the filing himself could he do worse. And he is asking you for four more years of service as your governor. Just when you thought it was safe to go into the polling booth….

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