The impact of COVID-19 on Oklahoma mental health

September 2, 2021

As the pandemic spread in early 2020, Healthy Minds Policy Initiative’s researchers analyzed the potential mental health impacts of widespread fear about the virus, loss of friends and family members, unemployment and social isolation as a result of virus mitigation policies. These impacts, we predicted, would include heightened anxiety, depression and substance use, as well as up to 260 new adult deaths statewide from suicide and substance abuse.

Eighteen months after the first COVID case appeared in Oklahoma, we examine the observed impacts of the pandemic on behavioral health conditions, mental health-related deaths, levels of unmet need and changes in how Oklahomans access mental health treatment as a result of the pandemic. We also offer recommendations to mitigate the ongoing mental health realities of the virus as local and state policymakers move to combat the pandemic’s overall impacts.

Read a one-page overview of our findings.

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