Cathy Costello Speaks to NAMI Edmond-North OKC: an Ed Talk Summary by Catherine Allen

Featured speaker Cathy Costello recently discussed the Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act of 2016 at the NAMI Edmond-North OKC September ED TALK at the Lord of LIfe Lutheran Church on September 13, 2016.

Introduced by Kim Roach, our Ed Talks coordinator, Cathy complimented NAMI for providing her family ongoing support and information as they struggled to get help for their son, Christian. “We realized we were not alone with a mental illness problem.”

As Cathy recounted years spent trying to help their son, she emphasized two major difficulties facing every family dealing with mental illness. One concerns the patient’s compliance with medication and the other relates to patient privacy under the HIPPA mandates. 

Her presentation included an explanation of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment law, which addresses assistance for Oklahomans who need court ordered treatment. This was renamed the Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act of 2016 and passed into law. Oklahoma legislators had listened to Cathy’s testimony during an interim study of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment law.

In recounting her family’s struggle to cope with the tragic loss of her husband and the devastating mental illness of their son, Cathy shared a secret to her remarkable strength. She said, “Everyday I break down and cry - every day - and every day I find a way to laugh.” 

A question and answer session between NAMI members and Cathy Costello concluded the presentation. 

Erik Collins