An Overview of Mental Health in Midwest City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma is facing many problems with mental health, but it is not alone. The entire United States is seeing a “mental health crisis.” Many factors are contributing to this crisis, from rising prevalence of mental illness to an increased shortage of mental health professionals. Mental Health America (MHA) releases a list each year, ranking each state on how well it’s handling these issues. In 2019, Oklahoma received an overall ranking of 27 out of the 50 states plus Washington DC. It ranked better in adult mental health and prevalence of mental illness, at 24 and 17, respectively. However, it came in at 34 for access to treatment, and a disappointing 41 in youth mental health.
Although they may be faced with similar issues, each community is coping with its own mental health “climate,” and one of them is Midwest City.
Mental Health in Midwest City
In examining a city’s mental health, it’s important to know some basics about the area. Midwest City is located in Oklahoma County and is a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. In 2017, its population was estimated at 57,308 people. Its economy specializes in utilities; mining and quarrying; utilities; and gas and oil extraction. The unemployment rate is 5.7 percent, while the poverty rate is 15.6 percent. The median income among the city’s residents in 2017 was $46,431, and the per capita income the same year was $23,884. The population is predominantly white at almost 67 percent, with 20.5 percent being black and just over 6 percent identifying as two or more races. There are a variety of factors that make up the mental health climate in Midwest City, with the following being only a few.
The poverty rate in Midwest City is somewhat high at 15.6 percent, which is higher than the national rate of 12.3 percent. However, it has gone down in recent years; in 2012, the poverty rate in Oklahoma County was at 19.1 percent. Poverty and mental illness are two issues that are often intertwined. Debilitating mental illness can lead to poverty when it prevents the sufferer from holding down a job to generate income. On the other hand, the stress of dealing with financial problems, as well as lowered ability to pay for mental health care, can exacerbate or trigger mental illness.
Minorities are often the most likely to experience poverty, and the same holds true in Midwest City. The highest poverty rate is among those identifying as multiple races, at 25.5 percent. The next highest is 22 percent among blacks and 21.7 among Hispanics.
According to the United Health Foundation, the suicide rate in Oklahoma went up from 16.7 per 100,000 people in 2012 to 21.4 per 100,000 in 2018. For comparison, the respective national rates were 12.4 up to 13.9. In 2018, Oklahoma had the 8th highest suicide rate out of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
On the other hand, Oklahoma County had a suicide rate only slightly higher than the national average at 15.8. Out of the state’s 77 counties, Oklahoma County had the 47th highest rate.
The state’s poorest rating from MHA was in youth mental health at number 41. A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported some of the following statistics in 2015:
- Oklahoma adolescents reported having a major depressive episode in the last year at about the same rate as the rest of the nation (approximately 8-10 percent in Oklahoma).
- Of these adolescents, 55.4 percent did not receive treatment for their depression.
- Oklahoma teenagers also reported using painkillers for non-medical reasons at a slightly higher rate than in the rest of the US.
Resources in Midwest City
Whatever mental health problem you may be experiencing, reaching out for help can be difficult. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in your struggle, and there are resources available to everyone. One resource is the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, whose website is chock full of information that may help. Another website that may be useful is E-Counseling. It is an online directory of mental health professionals across the US, and you can use it to search for a therapist near you that meets your specifications. Take the first step toward recovery today.