United Way Works for a Healthier America
Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a homeless individual, a family with food insecurity, someone struggling with mental illness or an addiction, United Way is working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.
Since 2008, we’ve been working to achieve our worldwide bold, 10-year goal: to increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors by 2018.
Locally our goal is to ensure the health and safety of all those in Southwest Oklahoma because we know that:
- Children with health coverage are better prepared to learn in school and succeed in life.1
- In Comanche County an estimated 19,293 adults and an additional 6,147 youth have a mental illness with an estimated 4,691 adults and an additional 3,995 youth having a serious mental illness.2
- The number of obese children in Oklahoma continues to rise. In 2003, 28% of children were obese compared to 34% in 2011-12. 3
- The number of Oklahomans without health insurance is staggering. In 2015, over 13.9% of Oklahoma residents still did not have access to health insurance. Oklahoma is 1 of 5 states with an uninsured rate of 13% or more in 2015. 4
- Older Oklahomans report frequent mental distress higher than regional and national rates - One in five older Oklahomans experience a mental health disorder. 5
Achieving our goal requires us all to become more aware of health risks and the potential effects they have on ourselves and others, starting from before birth. Working to change policies and practices, such as extending health care coverage, will enable more people to live healthier lives. We encourage our funded and community partners to focus aspects of their programs on health and safety even at a young age. For example, our in-house education program, Success By 6 through their Books and Bibs programs gives expectant mothers information about childhood development as well as a book and a bib to help care for their newborn. United Way of Southwest Oklahoma aims to support those programs that provide basic health and safety needs for our community such as The Lawton Food Bank, C. Carter Crane Shelter for the Homeless, Salvation Army's Soup Kitchen and Shelter Program, and Family Promise of Lawton's shelter program.