Mental Health Impacted By COVID-19 Pandemic, Healthier Oklahoma Coalition Says

Tuesday, December 22nd 2020, 4:18 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

The Healthier Oklahoma Coalition said it's seeing a lot more people looking for mental health help because of the pandemic.

Medical experts said the increase in mental health issues is a runaway train.

Doctor Gerard Clancy with the coalition said they're seeing a 800 percent increase in calls across the nation to the suicide prevention hotline.

He also said they're seeing an increase in alcohol and marijuana purchases, and an increase in opioid overdoses.

The coalition said clinical anxiety and clinical depression have increased by three times; The number of people reporting suicidal thoughts have increased by four times.

They said more frontline healthcare workers are dealing with post-traumatic stress and the pandemic seems to be affecting young adults, women and minorities the most.

They said it's important to address these issues now--before they get worse.

"We need to fund mental health and substance abuse services like we're funding hospital support and vaccines, because this epidemic of mental illness is coming hard and it's coming fast," Clancy said.

Clancy said the country needs to be focused on building long-term mental health infrastructure.