TULSA - Whether you buy into the notion that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" or not, recent history shows that mentally ill people sometimes kill a lot of people, whether they use guns, cars, fire, bombs, or even poison.
"You know in every of the instances around the United States, all of these violent shootings, they eventually uncover that the person had a mental illness that was not being treated, because if they're under treatment, people will pretty much get stabilized," Family and Childrens Services CEO Gail Lapidus tells KRMG.
Beginning Monday at 9:00 a.m., Tulsa will have a new facility that could stabilize people in crisis, before they turn dangerous to themselves or others.
The 24/7 Family & Childrens Services CrisisCare Center stands on the southeast corner of 6th and Houston, across from the OSU Medical Center.
It will provide short-term crisis stabilization for people, around the clock, 365 days a year.
Lapidus says the Center has state-of-the-art facilities unmatched anywhere in the state, including a Screening, Triage and Assessment Center and a Crisis Respite Center -- which fills an important gap in available services in the area.
It gives people in crisis a place to stabilize, without a long-term admission into a facility, rather than giving them medication and sending them home.
Lapidus says they've learned that stabilizing someone in crisis often prevents tragedy.
"Typically, mentally ill people have been used to being turned away, told there's no room for help, or they needed money to make a payment," she said. Now, there's another option.
There's also a Crisis Stabilization Unit where people can stay for 3-5 days if necessary.
Lapidus points out that roughly 99 percent of people with mental disorders or in psychiatric crisis don't become violent toward others.
But, she adds, "we don't think as a nation we've done a very good job of coming up with creative and important, essential ways to deal with that one percent."
The CrisisCare Center could provide that solution.
It's also open to people who need help with a friend or loved one who may be in crisis.
The Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services (COPES) suicide prevention team will also use the Center as its headquarters.
The phone number for services is 918-744-4800.