TULSA, OK — A new report from the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative illustrates the possible scope of mental health and substance abuse challenges that will arise from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report indicates 13,000 to 18,000 additional Oklahomans will find themselves in crisis from addiction and alcohol abuse because of the isolation and stress we're going through right now.
"We're pretty concerned, it's a pretty significant number and what we're watching is the first week you watch alcohol sales rise by 55 percent, there's a 9 time surge in calls to the help lines. All the indicators are pretty darn clear," said Bryan Day, the CEO of 12&12, Inc., an addiction recovery center in Tulsa, OK.
When asked what has people turning to abuse during isolation, Day said it's a bit of what he would call a tale of two crises and both are heavily related to stress.
"We're cutting off a lot of those social supports with churches, and the list just goes on," Day said. "And isolation for some people really will lead to the use of substances. Oftentimes, in about 10-13 percent of the population use can turn to abuse, and those are the folks we're most concerned about."
"The struggles are real, but I want to make sure everybody knows we're talking about tens of thousands of people that may need help," Day said. "If you need help don't be ashamed to ask for help. It's better to engage in services, than allow these type of things to become really life threateningly dangerous. So we're hoping people don't allow the stigma of finding themselves in a problem to over-ride the need for help."
If you think you need help with an addiction, you can all 918-664-4224. You can also go online to www.12and12.org.