With kids out of school indefinitely, more businesses shuttering their doors, and people fighting over toilet paper, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing some anxiety. Not only are stress levels higher, services and treatments people are used to getting may be suspended during this time.
CREOKS Health Service began working with a skeleton crew this week, according to Amber Gutierrez, vice president of marketing and communications, and it is transitioning many in-clinic services and resources to electronic options. CREOKS is embedded into the Tahlequah Public Schools system and case workers routinely visit students at the school sites.
“The children are used to getting services every week,” said Gutierrez. “This is when regression starts.”
CREOKS can provide care over the phone, via video conferencing or by telehealth. Patients must be able to use a tablet or a smartphone.
““If they need to speak to us, they can do it within the privacy of their own homes,” said Gutierrez. “CREOKS has already distributed over 200 tablets to clients who have no electronic devices. We do, however, have a need for many more.”
A nonprofit organization, CREOKS is seeking donations for it’s Tablets of Hope fundraiser, to be able to supply more community members with devices so they can continue to receive regular care and timely medication refills. Interested parties can visit https://givebutter.com/rJa0jB to donate. Those who would like to donate a tablet or tablets of any size or brand can email email@example.com.
CREOKS is also looking into providing internet service to those who need it most. Gutierrez said the access would be limited, and it would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Another digital tool being used by CREOKS is myStrength.
“It gives the clients activities and self-wellness tools,” said Gutierrez.
CREOKS is accepting calls from potential clients.
“They may get a recording, but someone will respond and they will be assigned an intake person. If someone is in crisis right away, there is our Spring Creek Recovery Center in Sapulpa,” said Gutierrez.
That crisis stabilization center is for those 18 and older.
For those who are not CREOKS clients and not ready to take that step, Gutierrez recommends checking its Facebook page.
“We post new information about how to deal with stress levels and parenting. We need to help children cope with this difficult time,” she said.
One way CREOKS helps those ages birth to 17 is with its Children and Adolescents Crisis Services. This is a team of mobile crisis response workers, and the hotline, 877-327-3657, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to the online pamphlet, a crisis may include: threats of suicide or suicidal thoughts; self-injury; aggressive behavior to harm others; severe depression; overwhelming anxiety or panic attacks; stress associated with sudden loss of housing, basic needs or supports; or severe emotional or behavioral disturbance. Anyone knowing of a child or adolescent in crisis may call, and CREOKS seeks to help all regardless of ability to pay.
Established in 1980, CREOKS has 23 clinics in Oklahoma, including the community mental health centers in Tahlequah, Stilwell and Wagoner.