It's Not Just Hospitals. COVID Is Straining Local Mental Health Providers

Sep 14, 2021

Local mental health professionals are seeing the same problem as hospitals at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic: too many patients.

Laureate Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic psychiatrist Dr. Scott Moseman said in his experience, a lot of the need for treatment stems from growing stress on families with kids in school, but there aren’t enough mental health providers to go around.

"It's not unusual in the city of Tulsa to have waiting lists for very good therapists, but those waiting lists are two to three times as long as they have been — which, again, for people in crisis, creates more difficulty when they're unable to get the help that they need," Moseman said.

Moseman said parents need to understand it’s been a difficult and unpredictable year and a half for their kids, even if they seem OK.

"And if you start to notice that they're having irritability, lack of enjoyment in things, grades are going down ... and things that would look at depression and anxiety, then please get help," Moseman said. "But even when families are getting help, I'm running into the fact that therapists and doctors are backed up, just like ICUs and other kinds of things are from the load."

Laureate’s eating disorders clinic, which helps youths from across the country, has seen its waiting list roughly double from the typical level.

And OU-Tulsa psychiatrist Dr. Ondria Gleason said she’s witnessed an uptick in substance abuse, mainly from people with past drug and alcohol use problems. OU-Tulsa is also treating people recovering from COVID, who are now dealing with anxiety, delirium or depression, especially in people who were seriously ill and are dealing with ongoing disability from it.