Mental Health Crisis in Oklahoma

Mental Health Crisis in Oklahoma

Many Oklahoma kids live in crisis and face many mental health problems. Today, one in five children struggle to cope with the challenges of mental or behavioral issues like depression, anxiety, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress and other serious conditions. Left untreated these conditions can lead to poor performance in school, social isolation, substance abuse, self-harm and even suicide.

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital is creating the Behavioral Health Center to address the growing need for mental and behavioral issues and will be the only resource in the state directly linked to a freestanding children’s hospital. You benefit from highly trained, compassionate, caring professionals who take the time to listen to you and your child, gather important background information and family/medical history and discover the deep roots of your situation.

Opening in Winter 2026

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The Need for Comprehensive Long Term Health Care

Nationally, the percentage of youth, aged 12-17, who reported experiencing a major depressive episode in the last year has double over the past decade. In Oklahoma, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10-24 in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma ranks 33rd in access to mental health services and support. At Oklahoma Children’s Hospital we see kids in crisis and the number of patients increasing. We see overwhelmed parents and caregivers desperate to help their child(ren). The challenges of the modern world, trauma in the home, social media stressors and the impacts of COVID-19 and other serious conditions can lead to complex mental and behavioral health issues in our children.

Filled with Panic and desperate support, parents and caregivers bring their children to the Emergency Room (ER) where our team treats them medically but lack the long-term facilities, specialized staff and support services to properly care for their conditions. Visits to the ER can heighten anxiety and trigger outbursts, worsening a mental health crisis. Many children require comprehensive mental health care or psychiatric placement. We see healthcare providers struggle to care for kids without the proper facilities or support services to treat their condition. We see people suffer due to lack of dedicated and specific support and are committed to creating a brighter future.

Today in Oklahoma, 1 in 5 children struggle to cope with the challenges of mental or behavioral issues like depression, anxiety, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress and other serious conditions.

Our Commitment to Mental Health

The Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health Behavioral Health Center will improve access to comprehensive behavioral health care, ensuring Oklahoma’s children receive treatment within their home state while creating a sustainable support system to address the growing mental health needs of our children. Our mission is to provide innovate and evidence-based treatment and care coordination for mental health issues in pediatric and adolescent patients.

As the only stand-alone children’s hospital in the state, we are positioned to handle the need for urgent mental health care for our young population. This distinction allows Oklahoma Children’s Hospital to care for the most complex cases, including patients who need specialty and subspecialty expertise. This robust and holistic behavioral health center facility will allow us to work together to heal our children’s minds and spirits and build a stronger community for generations to come.