Tulsans with mental illness or addiction live 27 fewer years on average than other Oklahomans, according to the report. And the city’s 19 suicides and 19 overdoses per 100,000 people are significantly more than its 12 homicides per 100,000 Tulsans.
Young people aren’t spared. Nearly 8% of Tulsa children — about 19,000 — have a serious emotional disturbance, the report says.
The negative effects of COVID-19 on mental health also are significant, according to the report: Nearly 40% of adults in Oklahoma had symptoms of anxiety or depression in July, and one in three Americans were found to have clinically diagnosable anxiety or depression.
“The long-term impact of a national disaster like this is on mental health,” Stoycoff said. “We are losing people because of the virus itself, but we will lose people because of the mental health crisis.”
As if that weren’t enough of a challenge, Tulsa continues to battle the scourge of methamphetamine.
“The data has shown that methamphetamine has become Tulsa’s No. 1 drug by death and also the No. 1 treatment need in our community in terms of substance abuse,” Stoycoff said.
And so it goes. The work never ends. Back in the shadow of the casino, Blackburn, the street outreach worker, stopped to visit with a 58-year-old man seated in a tent.