Healthy Minds Policy Initiative has received its first grant from a national foundation to support the transformation of Oklahoma’s approach to mental health care.
In early August, the Sozosei Foundation awarded a $300,000, two-year grant to Healthy Minds as a part of the foundation’s Decriminalization of Mental Illness portfolio. The funding will support several of Healthy Minds’ key organizational goals, including its work to grow and expand the capacity of Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce, increase the availability and accessibility of community-based mental health services that divert individuals from the criminal justice system to treatment, and advocate for consumers’ rights to insurance coverage for behavioral health care.
“We are honored to partner with the Sozosei Foundation to advance effective, data-driven approaches to these difficult issues,” says Zack Stoycoff, Healthy Minds’ executive director. “Nearly 60% of Oklahomans have an unmet behavioral health need, leading to unnecessary encounters with law enforcement and an inappropriate reliance on jails and emergency rooms. The Sozosei Foundation’s investment in our state highlights the opportunities we have to ensure all Oklahomans receive the behavioral health treatment they need, when and where they need it.”
The Sozosei Foundation is a philanthropic arm of Otsuka, a global health care company. The foundation’s primary focus is to eliminate the use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness by improving access to mental health care in communities.
“At the Sozosei Foundation, our Japanese heritage is manifest in our values and day-to-day operations,” says Melissa M. Beck, Esq., executive director of the Sozosei Foundation. “Our partnership with Healthy Minds Policy Initiative is a living embodiment of ‘Jissho,’ or proof through execution. Healthy Minds has an impressive history of innovative approaches to mental health systems change. We are honored to partner with them and to learn alongside them through their thoughtful work as we seek to create deep and systematic reform that will eliminate the use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.”
Established in 2019 by The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Healthy Minds Policy Initiative works to end untreated mental illness and addiction in Oklahoma through policy and practice transformation. The organization’s policy analysis and recommendations have been the foundation for significant bills signed into Oklahoma law, including the formalization of partnerships between schools and community mental health providers, permanent expansion of telehealth parity, and administration of harm reduction programs by approved medical and social service providers. Since its inception, Healthy Minds has helped secure more than $24 million in new public funding for mental health care and substance use services in Oklahoma and has published nearly 50 pieces of original research and analysis.