The coronavirus is stressful for everyone, but even more so for people struggling with substance use disorders.
According to a poll published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the coronavirus is harming the mental health of over half of Americans. This can result in a rise of depression, anxiety, suicide and substance abuse. For those in recovery or struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, isolation, financial struggles and anxiety, substance abuse can be a go-to coping mechanism. Substance abuse treatment is essential, especially during a pandemic.
Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) has remained open for opioid specific and substance abuse clients, providing screenings, intakes and services by leveraging technology.
As the treatment provider for the Tulsa County Speciality Courts (Drug and Mental Health Court), the transition from face-to-face treatment to telehealth services was challenging since clients are required to comply with court orders or go to prison. The closure of Tulsa’s courthouse removed court and drug screenings and visits with probation officers. Without F&CS’s technological innovation, clients would have had to go to jail for non-compliance.
As a result, F&CS’s entire Drug and Mental Health Court Treatment Team were able to engage with many clients through Doxy.me and Microsoft Teams. Clients have commented that telehealth is actually more convenient for them and reduces the transportation barrier of in-person treatment.
“My life has changed for the better by staying sober. I can definitely see the difference on how my life was going down the drain if I kept on drinking along with my health, and putting myself and other’s life in danger getting behind the wheel after drinking. Now that I’m sober, I see the world from a different perspective as a colorful, happy place with my friends and family.” April 2020 Alternative Court Graduate.
The program’s phased system awards incentives for different positive personal achievements. Even during COVID, many were able to stay sober and advance their treatment.
- 2 clients phased to phase 2
- 4 clients phased to phase 5
- 4 clients received incentives
Mental Health Court:
- 1 client phased to phase 2
- 3 clients phased to phase 3
- 1 client phased to phase 4
- 18 clients received incentives