Donahue Behavioral Health; A New Era for Oklahoma's Mental Healthcare

Department announces new facility to serve entire state of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, September 13th 2023, 5:26 pm

By: News 9


Construction is set to start soon on a new mental health hospital in Oklahoma County. 

It will replace the Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman, something that city leaders aren't entirely happy about.

The city of Norman has held the hub for mental health services for over a century, but the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services says the new hospital will better serve the entire state. 

"Because of the age of the building at Griffin right now we wanted to look at another facility," said Bonnie Campo, the public relations director for the Department of Mental Health. 

The department announced the new facility Tuesday.

It will be called Donahue Behavioral Health and located in Oklahoma City, meaning Griffin Memorial Hospital will shut down. 

"Right now, we need to be able to serve our staff better and serve those Oklahomans better that are being transferred there for care," Campo said. 

While they're excited about the new location, some Norman leaders are not. 

State senator Mary Boren said in a statement, "As a Norman delegation, we’re disappointed that the services and jobs provided by Griffin Memorial Hospital are being relocated." 

"We've been in continued talks for a long time with all stakeholders including the city of Norman and state legislators," Campo said. 

House Representative Jared Deck added they want to "...ensure every current Griffin employee has an opportunity to continue their career serving patients..." 

"We absolutely need them to continue our mission,” said Campo. “In fact, they will have more opportunities in Oklahoma City because we'll have even more beds to provide even more services to Oklahomans." 

Representative Jacob Rosecrants also chimed in saying in part, "[Their] priority is maintaining and expanding mental health services within Norman." 

ODMHSAS says they're keeping the state as a whole in mind. 

"Really the idea behind the new hospital location is just to make sure that every Oklahoman feels like they are connected to care," said Campo. 

The hospital is projected to open in 2026. 

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