The Oklahoma City Council has voted to grant Cedar Ridge Hospital a permit to house adult psychiatric patients at its northeast Oklahoma City campus after a tense hearing Tuesday morning where residents said they feared runaway patients and mental health officials spoke about a lack of psychiatric beds in the community.
Cedar Ridge has been approved to house 36 adult patients at its in-patient psychiatric hospital at 6505 NE 50. Although Cedar Ridge has accepted adults for in-patient treatment for the past decade, its previous special permit with Oklahoma City allowed the facility to house only adolescent patients. Cedar Ridge officials have said they were unaware of the permitting issue until recently.
Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, was one of several mental health officials who spoke at the meeting about how the loss of psychiatric beds for adults at Cedar Ridge would put further stress on an already strained system.
One recent weekend, four Oklahoma City police officers had to take people experiencing a mental health crisis to Tulsa for services because there were no available beds in the local area, White said.
“If this were a diabetes center, people would be proud to say it was in their neighborhood, but somehow because we are talking about diseases of the brain, that isn’t the case,” White said. “People with mental illness are in general less violent than the general population.”
Several northeast Oklahoma City residents who spoke at the meeting said they were concerned about Cedar Ridge housing adult patients after a spate of recent runaways from the hospital, although almost all the runaways were juvenile patients.
“I’m concerned not only for my property values, but for my family’s safety,” resident James Henderson said.