OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma has one of the highest rates in the country of people with frequent mental health issues. But a new program at the Good Shepherd Clinic is setting out change that, at least for their patients.

The Good Shepherd Clinic provides free medical care for those who can't afford it. When patients check in, they are given a survey to screen for mental health issues.

The folks at Good Shepherd have found about 70 to 75 percent of their patients need help and it’s free.

Ellen Love came into the Good Shepherd Clinic for a checkup, but the mental health screening she filled out hinted at depression.

“The first thing I see is little interest and pleasure in doing things,” an Oklahoma City University physician assistant student told her during her exam.

It turns out, Ellen has a history of depression, something those who were treating her medically for the past six years didn't know about.

“It lasted probably close to a year, if not many more after that,” said Ellen.

OCU's PA students with the help of volunteers go over the survey with the patient, and then determine the best course of treatment.

“Some of them actually have to be referred onto hospital care as well because it’s been so severe,” said Tammie Reggio, a Physician Assistant and instructor at OCU.

Without the program, the patients would likely not be getting the help they need.

“With depression or schizophrenia or anxiety attacks, a lot of that effects their activities of daily living and their ability to function daily at a job,” said Reggio.

That may lead them to spiral or even suicide.

Ellen's providers determined she was okay for now. Knowing that she's at risk, they will be keeping a closer eye on her. 

A $12,000 grant from an Iowa based charity made this possible. That money is used mostly to pay for medication and transportation for patients if necessary. 

The Good Shepherd Clinic is funded entirely from donations for more information go to www.GoodShepherdOKC.org or call 405-754-5190.