Head of Oklahoma Mental Health Dept. Addresses Arrest

Saturday, July 29th 2017, 2:28 pm
By: News 9

The Commissioner for the Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Terri White addresses her recent arrest in Florida on a battery complaint. 

07/29/17 Related Story: Head of Oklahoma Mental Health Dept. Arrested In Florida 

I need to clarify that charges being reported by some have in fact been dropped. The case is closed. 

My family has been affected by behavioral health issues just like countless other Oklahoma families. Last week while vacationing with family, one of my family members escalated to the point that it was overwhelming. I reacted by throwing water onto him from a cup to get him to stop. At that point he shoved me into a wall. I called law enforcement asking for help to deescalate the situation. To my dismay, the officer who came arrested me on a misdemeanor charge for throwing the water.  Once I was able to talk with county officials about the incident, they immediately indicated they would not pursue a charge. 

I believe that law enforcement in Oklahoma would have responded differently, and am thankful that they have the training and commitment to do so.  I am resolved to help expand that response capability and greatly appreciate all they do. My family is not unique and is not immune from these issues which further strengthens my resolve to help other families in need. 

I appreciate the many calls and texts of support from my friends and family. 

Governor Fallin issued her own statement of support for Commissioner White. 

"Terry White is a great commissioner of mental heath and has my confidence. Her family has privately faced struggles like many Oklahomans with a loved one who has a long-time substance abuse issue. She handled her family crisis appropriately by calling a crisis intervention expert to protect herself and family. 

"The response at the scene would suggest additional training by law enforcement could have helped sort out the situation."