Mental Health Struggles Continue Due To Ongoing Pandemic


Thursday, January 13th 2022, 10:02 am



As COVID-19 surges again, there is a change in heightened stress, putting many back into feelings of isolation.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 37 percent of adults in Oklahoma are reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, compared to 11 percent before the pandemic.

"What this pandemic has done is function as a magnifying glass for vulnerabilities," said

Larry Phillips with SSM Health Behavioral Health.

"If we are prone to depression, this has made things worse for us. So people might have panic attacks, withdrawals, isolation, easy to anger, easy to frustrate, substance abuse and use."

Now, with the omicron variant infecting Oklahomans at record rates along with economic inflation and a state of unknown, the mental health crisis is reflecting a change.

"Multiple things are different at this point of time. From the beginning, it was certainly stressful and lot of anxiety. But now that we are going on three years, what we are finding is that the frustration is at a new point and the anxiety is at a new point," said Phillips.

"A lot of people were anticipating this past fall it would be behind us, and we are still not there."

SSM Health is seeing more adolescents reporting poor mental health.

"This semester in particular, so many were excited to go back to school, but what I am seeing now is that kids are going back to school, and within two or three days they’re catching COVID and schools are closing again. And that is very, very stressful."

That stress can bleed onto the rest of the family, but experts said it's about finding that routine.

"Keep a routine going daily, certainly don't isolate and contact family and friends, use facetime when you can," said Phillips. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, here are some resources:

https://www.ssmhealth.com/behavioral-health/programs-for-adults-in-oklahoma

https://www.ssmhealth.com/behavioral-health/programs-for-children-and-teens-in-oklahoma

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