Oklahoma took a step forward in mental health reform as Gov. Mary Fallin signed the "Mark Costello Act" into law.
It's named after the late labor commissioner. His son, who has a history of mental illness, is accused of killing him.
Similar legislation failed over the past three years in committee. The Costello family believes if the bill had passed sooner, Mark Costello would be alive today.
“The Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act is an act of love,” Cathy Costello, Mark Costello's wife, said at Monday’s signing.
Cathy Costello calls her son, Christian, the poster child for the bill named after his father. A man he's accused of killing last August in a Braum's parking lot.
“My son would often tell us after a psychotic break and we were finally able to convince him to get on medication 'I feel so much better. Help me to stay on my medication,'” said Cathy Costello.
Leading up to Mark Costello's death, Christian Costello was hospitalized five times in a 12 week span. The Costello family felt helpless, with no power to force Christian Costello, now 27, to take his medication.
That changed Monday with Fallin's signature.
“We signed the Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act which will help families be able to get medication for their loved ones who maybe suffer from mental illness, but refuse to take treatment,” Fallin said.
Now, with help from doctors and a judge, families will have the power to give their family members battling mental illness the help they need.
Over the past 10 months, Mark Costello's death brought statewide attention to mental health advocacy and reform.
“I think today, Mark Costello has done something great for Oklahoma,” said Cathy Costello.
A bill that honors life of Mark Costello and gives hope to Oklahoma families.