One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been its effect upon mental health. While the initial crisis due to the pandemic has largely passed, the scars of anxiety, stress and untreated mental illness remains.
Oklahoma has rated on the lower end of mental health services, and the Department of Justice has recently launched an investigation into the State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD) due to their response to mental health crises1.
Based on 2020 data, Oklahoma ranks fifth (25.6%) in the nation for rates of mental illness. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) has also put forth data showing that Oklahoma’s rate for any substance abuse disorder is 16.1%. These totals mean that between 700,000 and 950,000 adult Oklahomans need services; most are not receiving the care they need to fully recover from their illnesses.
In Kay County, the numbers are even more concerning. The adult 18+ prevalence estimates suggest 6,983 people are in need of some level of mental health treatment, while just under 1,200 are currently receiving treatment services2. This means approximately 5,800 in need are untreated, and represents a concerning 82.94% gap rate.
To this end, Grand Mental Health (formerly Grand Lake Mental Health), is working to combat the growing mental health crisis.
In 1977, a group from Gateway Economic Development Association of Vinita, Oklahoma had obtained federal funding to start a non-profit community mental health service for seven counties in northeast Oklahoma. In 1984, the agency changed its name to Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Inc. and moved its central administration location from Vinita to Nowata. They again changed their name in March of 2022 to Grand Mental Health, as it has expanded to communities beyond the Grand Lake area.
When they first opened in Ponca City in 2017, Grand Mental Health had two employees serving eight clients. Since then, the company has grown to having over 115 employees and serve 1,150 residents.
“What we’re doing is creating awareness that there is help out there, we are growing and continuing to grow our services and staffing to accommodate the gaps,” said Ron Brady, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Grand Mental Health.
Grand Mental Health offers mental health intervention services3 with 24/7 mobile crisis teams, three 24/7 Crisis Stabilization Centers and a 24/7 Crisis Line at 1-800-722-3611. They offer individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. Grand Mental Health also offers help with veterans and accept VA referrals and Patient Centered Community Care insurance. Additional information on services can be found on their website at www.grandmh.com/our-services.
There is an unfortunate stigma to mental health disease and many people aren’t seeking help. But much like heart disease or diabetes, mental illness is not a moral failing, it is a disease that needs to be treated like any other.
1. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-departmentlaunches- investigation-oklahoma-s-mental-health-servicesystem- and 2. http://www.odmhsas.org/eda/prevalence.htm 3. https://www.grandmh.com/our-services/
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