Oklahoma Mental Health Experts Offer Help For Coronavirus-Related Anxiety

As COVID-19 spreads across Oklahoma, mental health experts want people to know help is available.

They're worried the number of people who will think about suicide will increase.

Mental health professionals at Family & Children's Service's COPES team have set up a 24-hour COVID emotional support line.

"Help those individuals who are experiencing some kind of stress, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed - just the loneliness," said Amanda Bradley, the senior program director for COPES Family & Children's Services.

Licensed mental health professionals are available around the clock.

Bradley said they have already received a lot of calls with the new COVID Emotional Support line.

She said they expect the number to rise. 

"As there's more job loss, as there's more loneliness, as there is more isolation, as there is more fear about what's going on, we expect to see an increase," said Bradley.

A recent report from the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative in Tulsa estimates "that 92,000 more Oklahomans may experience suicidal thoughts and 18,400 may attempt suicide" due to COVID-19.

Ken Moore with Parkside Psychiatric Hospital & Clinic said he's seen a rise in calls to their line as well.

"Uptick in calls related to anxiety about COVID. The hospital has stayed full of individuals who are experiencing suicidal ideation, some of whom express anxiety around COVID," said Ken Moore, the director of the Adolescent Acute Hospital and Social Services for Parkside Psychiatric Hospital & Clinic 

Moore said it’s important to promote awareness and for people to not be afraid to ask for help.

"It is so important to stay connected to other human beings as a way to prevent suicide thinking from emerging," said Moore.

Moore and Bradley both said they want people across Green County to know help is just a phone call or a short drive away.

"There is help available. There are a number of resources available in Tulsa," said Moore.

To access Family & Children’s Services COPES team call 918-744-4800

To access Parkside Psychiatric Hospital & Clinic Emergency & 24-hour help line, call 918-588-8888.