Muscogee (Creek) Nation expanding services to prevent suicide and drug addiction

OklahomaEventsHealthCommunity Indigenous
Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 05/23/2022, 3:19 PM
Edited: 05/23/2022, 5:48 PM

(MUSCOGEE NATION) The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is taking big steps to expand mental health on the reservation. Officials say they’re far from the finish line. 

The community gathered for a ribbon cutting at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s new 6000 square foot Behavioral Health Facility earlier this month, where prevention and treatment programs for a variety of mental health disorders will soon be provided. 

“Nobody asks you when you break your arm if you’re going to see a doctor about it or not,” Muscogee Creek Nation Chief David Hill told attendees during the event. “There should be the same level acceptance for people seeking treatment and services for mental illness.”  

The new center was made possible by a partnership between MCN and the Indian Health Service. 


“When we started planning this building, what, three years ago now?” Muscogee (Creek) Nation Secretary of Health Shawn Terry said at the event. “We’re probably already going to be too small when we open this door. Every single office is full.” 

In addition to providing counseling to reduce anxiety, depression, and suicide and suicidal ideation, all of which have increased during the pandemic, Terry said the new facility will also help people overcome addiction on the reservation. 

He said they have plans to develop the land into a multiple facility campus in the near future, including an in-patient facility for substance abuse. 

“We’ve been going out and touring facilities and looking at the best practices and we are getting very close to having a plan into place,” Terry said.

Terry said the expansion of their behavioral health services coincides with ongoing opioid lawsuit settlements. Once that funding starts coming in, they will start executing those plans. 

He told us he expects that to commence sometime within the next year. 

While some believe addiction is simply a matter of choice, health experts say otherwise. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, substance use disorders are mental disorders that affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to a person’s inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. 

NIMH has also found about half of people who have a substance use disorder have another mental disorder like anxiety or depression. 

Click here for more information about Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse services. 


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