Mental Health


Carter Evans, West Oklahoma City



Evans has struggled with addiction and mental and physical health problems for years, but in 2012 he was able to get effective help. That hasn’t happened with his son, who Evan says is 42, drinks and takes speed, and is living on the streets. “I don’t know whether he’s alive or dead half the time.” Evans lives in an RV tucked in a wooded trailer park along a rough stretch of 10th Street.


Jonathan Roberts, Be The Change Executive Director



Roberts works with a lot of people like Evans’ son, whose chronic mental health and substance abuse issues inhibit his ability to support himself and sustain a home. Access to mental treatment is hard in Oklahoma, which often ties into substance abuse problems. The stigma attached to mental health issues and being homeless can make it difficult to get resources to fund treatment, Roberts said.

A Deeper Look:

On the Streets

Among the people who were homeless in Oklahoma City in 2014, 35 percent reported mental illness, and 33 percent reported substance abuse, according to the Homeless Alliance. Hover over the bars on the chart below to see how the numbers have fluctuated over time.

Those marked as suffering from substance abuse in the below chart often also suffer with mental illness too.

Source: The Homeless Alliance


  1. Janet on March 31, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    My daughter is 28 and has had mental health and substance abuse issues for 13 years. It is extremely difficult to get help for either one of those conditions in OK. It’s shameful an embarrassing that our state cannot step into the 21st century an realize there is no FAULT in mental illness, and its subsequent alcoholism or drug abuse! These people are self-medicating because they are in mental pain and anguish!

    I pray often for our legislators and voters in this state to MATURE and give grace and mercy to those that are not fortunate enough to have a sound mind! Come on, people!

  2. Janet on March 31, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    I agree with Jonathan Roberts comments, wholeheartedly. How can we get to where we need to be for Mr. Evans’ son and my daughter? How ironic that a low-income state like OK, only provides mental health and substance abuse providers for people who can pay!

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