The incident became even more overwhelming when Lee began to remember repressed memories from her childhood, when she was molested by a relative from the time she was 3 until about age 12, she said.
“When that happened in June, it was like everything just exploded all over again, and I was 12 years old — I was scared,” Lee said. “Before it happened, I was independent, head-strong and self-reliant.”
When Lee first walked into NorthCare’s office near downtown Oklahoma City, she was shaking and scared.
Laurie Maberry, one of her best friends, stood by her, ensuring she got the care she needed and understood her options.
Maberry held Lee’s hand and would reword the questions that Lee was asked during the initial assessment because Lee was having trouble focusing. Lee wasn’t herself, Maberry said.
“We’re just grateful for the program because we couldn’t do anything but pray for her and be there for her financially and physically, however we needed to be there for her, but we didn’t have the skills or know what to do,” Maberry said.
Randy Tate, CEO of NorthCare, said NorthCare hopes to increase its presence in Oklahoma City by establishing a behavioral health and wellness campus.
NorthCare plans to build the campus where the Oklahoma County Crisis Intervention Center sits along 2625 General Pershing Blvd. When it’s complete, the campus will include not only mental health services, but also primary care doctors and possibly dental services as well, Tate said.
In Oklahoma, people with mental illness live, on average, to 58, whereas an average Oklahoman without mental illness lives to almost 72. Meanwhile, an Oklahoman with both a mental illness and a substance abuse issue lives to an average age of 41.
Tate said increasing access to services beyond behavioral health for NorthCare’s patients can mean access to services they might not otherwise get.
“We feel like it’s really important to look at a person in the sense of a whole being and not just compartmentalize health and behavioral health and so forth,” Tate said. “We really want to look at all dimensions of wellness.”
Lee said her family, friends and NorthCare counselors saved her life.
Almost two years later, she sits in her apartment, decorated with countless pictures of her two adult sons, her four grandsons and other family members and friends. And she is glad she’s around to appreciate the life she has.
“If it weren’t for my friends, they’re the best — and I love NorthCare,” Lee said.
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If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). The lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We needed to be there for her, but we didn’t have the skills or know what to do.”