New Report Shows Big Spike In Depression In Oklahoma

Friday, May 18th 2018, 9:57 pm
By: Ashley Izbicki

A new report shows Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of major depression in the United States and the number of diagnoses is up 29 percent since 2013.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield report shows Oklahoma had the 6th highest spike in the country. But experts and people suffering from depression say it can be treated, and Oklahoma can lower the statistic and stigma

Mark Vann's life changed after a car crash left him unemployed and in a homeless camp.

"I started hearing voices. They give you commands and they want you to do different things. Harm yourself, harm other people," said Vann "I tried to go back to work and they would talk to me all day while I'm at work, telling me to come outside, leave your job"

He knew he needed help and turned to the Mental Health Association Oklahoma. There he connected with a doctor and therapist. He received the right medication and followed an action plan.

“A total makeover. An overhaul of your life. Breathing techniques, to help me relax.”

Julie Summers of Mental Health Association Oklahoma says the best bet to catch depression early.

"The most severe depression can even lead to people having suicidal thoughts. And so we try very hard to catch people while they're still functioning, and get them the help that they need so that they don't get to that point," said Summers. "I was surprised to see the report, and to see the extent to which depression has increased."

Julie Summers who also suffers from depression says our state can lower the statistic by raising funding levels and awareness.

"People don't understand that depression is a brain disorder. We have, right now, bare-bones funding for mental health issues.”

Vann lost his relationship with his kids but just last weekend he was there to watch his daughter graduate from College.

"I believe that if I can help someone else, then it was well worth it."

He calls it a miracle considering just a year and a half ago he was homeless.