Oklahoma mental health advocate Terri White has been awarded the Oklahoma National Guard’s Oklahoma Medal of Freedom.
The award is the Guard’s highest civilian honor.
White, the CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, was presented the award at The Adjutant General’s Suicide Prevention and Resiliency Day on Tuesday at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman.
White was honored for her 13 years as the Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Previous recipients of the award include former Govs. George Nigh, Frank Keating and Brad Henry.
“Terri has tirelessly advocated for the mental health needs of Oklahoma National Guardsmen, and all other Service members in Oklahoma,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, the adjutant general for Oklahoma.
“Thanks to her leadership, thousands of Oklahoma’s service members, and their families, have access to quality mental health care, which has led to a reduction in mental health emergencies and, most importantly, happier and healthier families.”
“It is incredibly touching to me to be here today,” White said, “and to be honored by my friend General Thompson and all of you for doing something that I feel Oklahoma is obligated to do, which is take care of the men and women and their families who serve or have served our country, including their brain health.
“What I hope that this does is propel us to continue to be here for those who are serving our country or who have served our country, who are struggling when it comes to mental health and substance abuse. It’s one out of every four of us. It looks like you; it looks like me. It’s our friends. It’s our family. It’s our co-workers. It’s the men and women who are serving our nation. And so we want to make sure that we’re here for your brain health, just like we are for every other aspect of your re-integration and your support as you serve.”