Updated April 23, 2020 with revised projections using new economic “actuals” and emerging national research.
As leaders mobilize to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its effect on Oklahomans’ physical health, it becomes increasingly important to recognize and plan for the behavioral health consequences of this crisis and its fallout. This report illustrates a possible scope of the mental health and substance abuse challenges that will arise from the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. This includes mental health- and addiction-related deaths, childhood trauma, and a growing need for treatment amid stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
The mental health consequences of this crisis will be far-reaching. This report touches on an important selection of these consequences, but it is not comprehensive. Mental health effects of pandemics of this scale are not well-studied and the full scope of impending mental health needs is difficult to project. This report uses historical natural disaster evidence and the well-studied effects of economic downturns, including projection methodologies developed by the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. We estimate that in the next 12 months:
These projections show that as the virus and economic downturn unfold, it is increasingly important to focus resources and policies on behavioral health treatment. A comprehensive behavioral health response will be needed. To support this, state policymakers can:
For similar national-level projections, find resources with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.