Add To Favorites

Depression, anxiety rate up 15%; LGBT adults more affected

Tahlequah Daily Press - 7/2/2022

Jul. 2—Reports indicate Oklahomans are still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health.

Analysis of CDC mental health data by QuoteWizard indicates that in 2022, the percentage of Oklahomans with symptoms of anxiety and depression is 38%, a 15% increase from 2021.

Oklahoma ranks in the top three states with the highest number of people dealing with anxiety, along with Kentucky and Utah, with an increase of 11% from 2021. Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas are reported as having the highest numbers of depression. Since 2021, the percentage of Oklahomans experiencing depression has increased by 28%.

CREOKS is an area nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive health, wellness and social services. Chief Communications Officer Amber Gutierrez could not speak to these exact numbers, but said CREOKS has seen increase of people dealing with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

"The pandemic caused a lot of fear and grief; people felt isolated, some unable to find work and the uncertainty weighed on many. The obstacles Oklahomans have been face with have been real challenges," said Gutierrez. "Many people who were affected held off on getting help, so we are now seeing an increase of those in need."

Gutierrez said help is available, too.

"While people are thinking we are bouncing back from the pandemic, the truth is we will be witnessing the effects for years to come. But there is help, not only for mental health, but other social services that can get people through some of the struggles they are facing," said Gutierrez. "Our care coordinators and other staff have resources to help those with food insecurities, housing issues, employment placement and more."

There are 24 CREOKS locations in Eastern Oklahoma, with a Community Mental Health Center in Tahlequah. Gutierrez said this center is available to everyone and offers services to individuals and families, regardless of their ability to pay.

"We assist people with depression, anxiety, grief/loss, stress, aggression, bipolar disorder, borderline and other personality disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, as well a substance use disorder and so much more," said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez provided a list of core services offered, including individual, group and family counseling; school-based services; assessments and psychiatric consultation; medication management; care coordination (help with obtaining housing, food, clothes, education, employment etc.); substance abuse services; and psychiatric social rehabilitation.

Another segment of the population is facing greater rates of mental health challenges. On June 16, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults have consistently reported higher rates of anxiety and depression symptoms than non-LGBT adults.

From December 2021 to February 2022, 49% of LGBT adults had symptoms of anxiety versus 24.6% of non-LGBT adults. In the same period, depression symptoms rates were 43.1% for LGBT adults, versus 19.7% for non-LGBT adults. From March to May 2022, 50% of LGBT adults had anxiety symptoms versus 24.6% of non-LGBT adults. In the same period, 41.6% of LGBT adults had symptoms of depression rates versus 19.4% for non-LGBT adults.

The QuoteWizard analysis reported similar findings in Oklahoma: straight people experiencing anxiety numbered at 28%, and gay or lesbian people experiencing anxiety numbered at 46%. For symptoms of depression, the number of straight people was 23% versus 33% for gay or lesbian people.

Get help

For those in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, free and confidential support is available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255. Local help is available from CREOKS at 918-207-0078.


(c)2022 the Tahlequah Daily Press (Tahlequah, Okla.)

Visit the Tahlequah Daily Press (Tahlequah, Okla.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.