Mental Health Download: Exploring Mental Illness, Suicide, Homelessness and Incarceration

His Name Isn't "Homeless." It's Jose. #SeeMe

An episode of Mental Health Download: Exploring Mental Illness, Suicide, Homelessness and Incarceration

Mental Health Association Oklahoma created The Mental Health Download podcast to share stories each month about mental illness, homelessness, incarceration and suicide, and how each can impact our lives in a profound way.

Mental health affects everyone, yet the social stigma attached to mental health issues keeps so many of our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors silent.

Why are we so afraid to talk about these issues?

Each month, our host Matt Gleason invites guests to share how mental illness, suicide, homelessness and incarceration have affected their work or lives.
More places to listen

More places to listen

Listen to Zarrow Symposium Keynotes Part 1: Esme Weijun Wang and Dr. Stephanie Covington
Listen to the highlights from Day 1 of the Zarrow Mental Health Symposium keynote sessions.  First, Esmé Weijun Wang shares personal stories highlighting her experiencing living with severe mental illness. She challenges to the audience to expand their view of what recovery and resilience really means.  Then, listen to Stephanie Covington discusses women in the "criminal injustice system." She explains the difference between tolerable stress and destructive stress, and how it affects brain development and children.  "Think about what percentage of the women in our jails and prisons grew up in families with relentless stress in communities of violence -- A very high percentage."  
October 17, 2019
Tahira Taqi on Racism & Inclusion
Tahira Taqi is a proud American Muslim, community member and social justice advocate. She works as the Senior Project Manager for Urban Strategies on the Eugene Field choice neighborhood project and continues to be involved in area nonprofits and advocacy efforts. In this episode, Mike Brose, CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, talks with Tahira about racism, inclusion, mental health and what she hopes for the future.
October 8, 2019
Kristy K. Boone: Connectivation & Resilience
Today our guest is Kristy K. Boone. Kristy is from Oklahoma City but she’s kindly come to Tulsa to record this episode in our studio. Kristy’s primary passion is teaching others how to communicate with empathy and authenticity in a digital age. Her passion also translates into her corporate interactive workshops, adapting improv-based exercises. Kristy is also a professional improviser, actor, writer and badass. I added the badass part to her bio. On this episode, Kristy’s going to explain how improv soothes anxiety and builds resilience, something we could all benefit from. She’s also going to give you tips on how to be a better co-worker by realizing that the secret of thriving in any workplace is compassion. But that’s a lot easier said than done, so Kristy has an amazing two-hour Connectivation training she’s offered to businesses of various sizes and even nonprofits like Mental Health Association Oklahoma. During her Connectivation training here at the Association, Kristy highlighted areas in which our staff could interject improv to improve their work lives and beyond. I’ve never heard people rave more about an All Staff training like that one. I’m excited she’ll be presenting a 90-minute version of the Connectivation training at our Zarrow Mental Health Symposium coming up October 3 & 4 in Tulsa. This year’s theme is RESILIENCE. RECOVERY. RETHINK MENTAL HEALTH. Register at
September 30, 2019
Tim Landes Jr's Mom Was Homeless
Tim Landes Jr is a storyteller. In this episode, the TulsaPeople magazine writer and editor tells the story of his mom, who has experienced mental illness and homelessness. Now she has a safe place to live and is doing great in her recovery. Wendi Fralick is the Chief Administrative Officer for Mental Health Association Oklahoma. She interviews Tim in this episode because she knows his story so well from following his blog at
September 23, 2019
Joe Hight's "Unnecessary Sorrow"
Today our guest is our friend Joe Hight. Joe is a journalism professor, columnist, writer, consultant and a bookstore owner. His newspaper career as an editor, director, managing editor or reporter spanned for 35 years. His new book is “Unnecessary Sorrow: A Journalist Investigates the Life and Death of His Oldest Brother: Ordained, Discarded, Slain by Police.” It took Joe more than a decade to write and publish. The book will be launched at a special event in Tulsa, followed by an event in Edmond. Part of the proceeds from book sales will benefit Mental Health Association Oklahoma. At both events, Elena Hight, Joe Hight’s daughter, will perform “My Uncle, a song she wrote based on the book. LINK TO "MY UNCLE" VIDEO: All the details are in this episode’s show notes. To give some background on the book, Joe has always wondered what happened to his oldest brother, Paul Hight, a Roman Catholic priest purged from the Church because of his mental illness and who was killed by police on his front doorstep. Joe weighed through thousands of pages of documents, including his brother’s own writings and a 150-page police report about his death. In the book, Joe spotlights the days when our mental health system often misdiagnosed and mistreated people suffering the most. BOOK LAUNCH INFO The book will be launched at a special event in Tulsa, followed by an event in Edmond. Part of the proceeds from book sales will benefit Mental Health Association Oklahoma. The official launch will be during an event with Magic City Books at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at The University of Tulsa’s Allen Chapman Student Union, 3035 E 5th.  Matt Gleason will conduct an interview with Hight about his book. The Oklahoma City-area launch will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Best of Books, 1313 E Danforth in the Kickingbird Square Shopping Center. Hight and his family own the bookstore.
September 16, 2019
Dr. Jessica Bernard: Exploring Psychosis Part 2
Welcome to part 2 of our exploration of psychosis. Today I’m so excited that our guest is psychosis expert, Dr. Jessica Bernard, of Texas A&M University. Dr. Bernard’s research supports the theory that problems in a particular brain circuit contribute to the disorganized thinking seen in patients with schizophrenia. She’s here to talk in detail about psychosis and to give us tips for people experiencing psychosis and their loved ones. OK, let’s get to the interview. The Mental Health Download starts now.
September 12, 2019
Esmé Weijun Wang: Exploring Psychosis Part 1
Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias and the novel The Border of Paradise, which was one of NPR's Best Books of 2016. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, Esmé lives in San Francisco. She will be a keynote speaker at our Zarrow Mental Health Symposium in October. We are thrilled that Esmé joined us for our two-part exploration of psychosis.  For this episode, we asked JoBeth Hamon to interview Esmé. JoBeth works for the Association, but she’s also a huge Esmé fan and was actually elected as a City Councilor in Oklahoma City.  OK, the mental health download starts … now.
August 30, 2019
Noe Rodriguez: Homeless Outreach Exit Interview
On this episode, Noe Rodriguez looks back on what inspired his life as a homeless outreach worker in Tulsa, tells some funny and inspirational stories and looks forward to the next big step in his life. Noe is our friend so we will miss him dearly at Mental Health Association Oklahoma, but we're excited for the next chapter in an already remarkable life.
August 26, 2019
Joshua Dulaney & The Dark Side of Reporting
Today we’re talking with award winning journalist Joshua Dulaney. He joined The Oklahoman in November 2016. In both 2018 and 2019 he earned newspaper writer of the year honors from the Great Plains Journalism Awards. We asked Josh to be on the show today because he’s the host of the Oklahomans’ podcast, the United States of Oklahoma, a podcast exploring the people of Oklahoma.  We’ll also talk about the stories he’s told over the years, including those about Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, among other topics.
August 19, 2019
Defining Moments with Margy & Hoang Lam
-- We’re talking with Margy and Hoang Lam. The Oklahoma City couple produce the Defining Moments podcast. Hoang hosts and Margy works behind the scenes.  -- Together, they have built a great following because they believe in the power of positive people with unique stories. By sharing stories, they hope to inspire a more positive world. It’s an honor they’re on the show because we love their mission.  -- We talk about eating disorders, inspirational books, healthful eating and their own defining moments. -- You can listen to the Defining Moments podcast via your favorite podcast listening app or online at 
August 9, 2019
The Danger of Linking Mental Illness with Mass Violence
It’s Monday, August 5, 2019 and we’re still reeling from the mass shootings that claimed 20 lives in El Paso on Saturday and another nine in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday. A Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health found that the contribution of mental health conditions to violence in our society is very small. But  Gallup polling data from January, 2013 showed that 48% of adult Americans blame the mental health system “a great deal” for mass shootings in the United States. When there is an  incident of mass gun violence, mental illness is routinely discussed as a likely cause, and the rights and liberties of the up to 25% of Americans with mental health conditions are placed in jeopardy.  In the aftermath of the tragedies, the news media often turns to our guest, Mike Brose, for ways the general public can cope with such dark events. Sadly, Mike has been answering these types of questions for decades, including in the aftermath of Columbine, Sandy Hook and, honestly, too many others. Today, Mike explains the dangers of linking mass violence with mental illness.
August 6, 2019
Dr. Carl Hart: Drug Talk for Grown-Ups
On this episode, Mark Davis, the Association's chief programs officer, interviews our guest, Dr. Carl Hart. Dr. Hart grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Miami where drug use was prevalent. The truth is that he even used and sold drugs.  However, interesting enough, that life led him to the Air Force and later to the esteemed role of Columbia University professor acclaimed for his research -- who some may call controversial -- particularly in regards to substance use, and the case Dr. Hart for decriminalizing ALL drugs in America. And that’s why we’re thrilled that Dr. Hart is going to be a keynote speaker at Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s annual Zarrow Mental Health Symposium in October.  His keynote is titled “Drug Talk for Grown-Ups.” In it, he will be drawing upon his own personal journey and more than 25 years of experience as a neuro-psycho-pharmacologist.  In this episode, Dr. Hart takes on how society is constantly misled about drug use and addiction. He also explains how misconceptions about drug addiction distract our attention away from real concerns and lead to bad policies, immeasurable suffering, and countless preventable deaths. Learn more about the Symposium at *** The Mental Health Download: Exploring Mental Illness, Homelessness, Suicide and Incarceration is presented by the nonprofit Mental Health Association Oklahoma.
July 26, 2019
What Makes a Mental Health Leader?
On this episode, Mental Health Association Oklahoma's CEO, Mike Brose, interviews his friend and collaborator Kathy Langois. She is based in Canada and represents the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. It’s  a unique international collaborative of nine countries that focuses on improving mental health and addictions services.  Mike has been working alongside Kathy as her organization prepares for its upcoming Leadership Exchange coming up in early September in Washington, DC.  Get all the details at 
July 19, 2019
Exploring the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
 On today’s of the Mental Health Download,  we have three interviews all tied to Adverse Childhood Experiences, better known as ACEs. Oklahoma's children have the highest ACE scores in the nation. Basically, the questionaire boils down to three categories: Abuse, Neglect and Household dysfunction, including mental illness, substance use and if a loved one has been incarcerated. To give you some perspective on this issue, we’re talking to three people who played key roles in the Tulsa World newspaper’s phenomenal 8-part series on ACEs. Lucinda Morte is a mental health professional who has a relatively high ACE score herself. Donavon Ramsey is a resilient 19-year-old with a high ACE score and plenty of heartbreaking stories. And, finally, Ashley Parrish, the Tulsa World’s Deputy Managing Editor who oversaw the year-long process to make the Breaking the Cycle series a reality.  LINKS: ACEs questionnaire:   Tulsa World's Breaking the Cycle series: 
July 12, 2019
A Journey Home: How Collaboration is Solving Homelessness
What happens when someone is evicted from their home? For some the answer is buying a room at a hotel, which is what Shade and Sheryl did until they ran out of money. Then, it was buying a tent. In this episode, we wanted to give listeners a chance to join us, first, as we visited Shade and Sheryl the first day they moved into a new apartment thanks to adopt a home and then, second, after they’ve lived there for exactly one month. This story starts in their new kitchen, Sheryl stopped loading in groceries to tell us how they ended up living on the streets. 
July 5, 2019
PART 2: Tulsa's Homelessness Count Featuring Greg Shinn
On this episode, Greg Shinn, of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, discusses Tulsa's annual Point-in-Time Count of people experiencing homelessness. It was officially released during the recording of this podcast. This is the second of a two-part series on point-in-time counts in Oklahoma. The first episode featured Greg interviewing Dan Straughan, of the Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City.
June 28, 2019
PART 1: Exploring the Annual Oklahoma City Homeless Count with Dan Straughan
On the new episode of the Mental Health Download podcast, our own Greg Shinn interviews his longtime friend and collaborator Dan Straughan, executive director of the Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City. Together they discuss the results of the OKC Point-in-Time Count of people experiencing homelessness and what that means for the community. This is part one of a two-part series. The second episode features Greg discussing Tulsa's Point-in-Time count.
June 28, 2019
Gail Richards on Overcoming Addiction to Anxiety Medication
On this episode of the Mental Health Download,  Mike Brose, the CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, interviews his longtime friend,    and one of the greatest supporters of our organization, Gail Richards. They're going to talk about a number of things, but, primarily, Gail is our guest today because she is courageously sharing her story so that others may understand what it's like to overcome an addiction to a prescription that she was prescribed to overcome anxiety. But what was prescribed as an "as needed" drug became, eventually, something that she was taking all the time. It's a great honor that Gail's with us to share a story that Mike and I know is going to do a lot of good. And that's really what Gail is all about -- she's one of the most compassionate and helpful people that we know. 
June 14, 2019
Tulsa World's Let's Talk: Mental Health Forum
On this episode of the Mental Health Download, we were on location at the University of Tulsa for the Tulsa World's Let's Talk Forum on Mental Health.  The panelists included TU President Gerard Clancy, who is a psychiatrist; Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; and Dr. Martin Paulus, scientific director and president of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. Participating as special guests at the event were Oklahoma’s first lady, Sarah Stitt, and Michael Brose, chief empowerment officer of Mental Health Association Oklahoma.
May 31, 2019
Homelessness Experts Mack Haltom & Mike Brose
On this episode of the Mental Health Download, Mike Brose, CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, interviews his longtime friend and collaborator Mack Haltom, who is the executive director of the Tulsa Day Center. The homelessness experts talk about a variety of things, including homelessness myths and why collaboration is one of the greatest tools in the fight to end homelessness in Tulsa. 
May 29, 2019
Review of Oklahoma's 2019 Legislative Session
On this episode of the Mental Health Download, Jake Glantz, Mental Health Association Oklahoma's advocacy specialist, reviews Oklahoma's 2019 legislative session. You'll hear about the state of mental health funding, criminal justice reform and more. 
May 24, 2019
His Name Isn't "Homeless." It's Jose. #SeeMe
Jose Vega, of Oklahomans for Equality, explains what it was like to be rejected by his family because he was gay. Then, he explains what it was like surviving homelessness while also trying to balance the pressures of high school. For the second part of the Mental Health Download, we talk with Beth Svetlic, who oversees Mental Health Association Oklahoma's services for young people who have overcome homelessness. Beth started her social work career working with adolescents because, as she said, "they have a lot of autonomy and hope."  
May 21, 2019
Michelle Hand Shares Her Story about Postpartum Depression
Michelle Hand, a mother of two,  shares what it was like experiencing postpartum depression after having her second child. Her advice to mothers is to reach out for help if they're experiencing depression even if it is hard. 
May 12, 2019
Highlights from the My Mind Matters Rally at the Capitol
On this episode of the Mental Health Download, you'll hear highlights from this year's My Mind Matters rally at the Capitol. You'll hear speeches that will inspire you, break your heart and, most importantly, get you ready to advocate for essential mental health services wherever you live.
April 26, 2019
Weather Anxiety is Real
On this episode of the Mental Health Download, we take on weather anxiety. First, our host, Matt Gleason, talks with Tulsa meteorologist Jon Haverfield. Jon grew up battling weather anxiety but overcame it to the point he chases tornadoes for a living. Then, Matt interviews Julie Summers, who serves as Mental Health Association Oklahoma's Director of Outreach and Prevention. Julie offers helpful tips to cope with weather anxiety and gives insight into responding to the needs of people in the aftermath of a tornado.
April 24, 2019
#SeeMe: My Name isn't Criminal, it's Melodie.
On the latest episode of The Mental Health Download podcast, we’re kicking off Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s See Me campaign with a conversation with our very own Melodie Mills. Each day, Melodie’s helping people in Oklahoma City experiencing homelessness start a new life in recovery. She’s amazing at her job because she truly understands what they are going through and how to overcome the greatest of barriers.   In Melodie’s own life, though, she hasn’t had many second chances. Instead, her battle with addiction led her to spending just over five years in prison. At one point, she felt like society saw her as a monster not as someone in need of life-changing substance use treatment. That’s why Melodie is one of the many faces of the See Me campaign.  The heart of the See Me campaign is really driven by the fact that we all like to look away when we see people who are panhandling on the side of the road, people experiencing severe mental illness, or people who are experiencing homelessness. This can make people uncomfortable. All of the sudden, people look away to anywhere they can, their phone, the radio, anything, that isn’t that person outside the car window.  The See Me campaign is about challenging everyone to make eye contact with people who we want to look away from, because that’s how we’re going to see what unites us — our humanity. 
March 29, 2019
Teen on Suicide & Stigma
On this episode of the Mental Health Download, the CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Mike Brose, and host Matt Gleason talk with Sophie Pazzo. She's a Tulsa teenager who shares her thoughts on the stigma of mental illness, suicide and the critical role teens like her play in making a difference in the community.
February 19, 2019
New Year's Resolutions that Start New Lives
During our Mental Health Download podcast, we usually take on just one of four powerful topics each month. Well, during our latest episode we take on all four -- mental illness, suicide, incarceration, and homelessness. The reason we're taking on all four topics is because we're talking about New Year's resolutions that won't make you lose weight or help you start exercising, but they will give you opportunities to make a big difference in your community. 
January 15, 2019
Suicide in a Smalltown
Welcome to the Mental Health Download from Mental Health Association Oklahoma. Each month on our program, we take on one of four themes that are too big to ignore: mental illness, suicide, incarceration and homelessness. During this episode, Mike Brose, CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma, and our host, Matt Gleason, will explore what happened in the small Oklahoma town of Wilburton, Oklahoma after a cluster of suicides claimed the lives of young people and even a school teacher. Then, we’ll hear from Dr. Paul Quinnett. Dr. Quinnett is a clinical psychologist and President and CEO of the QPR Institute. Based in Spokane, Washington, the training organization is set on preventing suicides across the globe by teaching people a single question that saves lives from suicide. Learn more about Mental Health Association Oklahoma at
January 8, 2019
Can Video Games Revolutionize Mental Health?
 What role can video games play in treating mental health and addiction? In this episode of Mental Health Association Oklahoma's podcast, The Mental Health Download, nationally-known professor in neurology, physiology and psychiatry, Dr. Adam Gazzaley, shares a global look at how technology is influencing and changing how we treat PTSD, ADHD, autism, depression, and more. Learn more about Mental Health Association Oklahoma at
January 8, 2019
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