Oklahoma mental health facilities to remain open, use telehealth if needed

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State-operated and contracted mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities, both inpatient and outpatient, are open and will remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, with added stress related to coronavirus, many Oklahomans may be struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

“We are here to help,” said Carrie Slatton-Hodges, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services interim commissioner. “There are people who care, and help and resources are available.”

The department is using CDC-established safety and health protocols to protect both clients and staff. 

Clients are screened as they enter facilities to determine appropriate treatment protocol, whether in-person at a safe distance, or remotely through telehealth.

“Oklahoma has one of the most advanced behavioral telehealth networks in the nation,” Slatton-Hodges said, “We are a national leader in this area and well ahead of the curve in providing these services.”

In addition to telehealth, the use of wireless tablets to help law enforcement find treatment for people in crisis is another program.

“These are extraordinary times we’re living in,” Slatton-Hodges said. “If you’re feeling alone or struggling with your mental health or a substance abuse issue, don’t be afraid to reach out.”

Reach the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741, call 1-800-273-TALK, or dial 211 (or, 800-522-9054) to find available services near you. Those who are talking and texting back are trained volunteers or professionals in the community, ready and willing to help.

The ODMHSAS website has more information and links to resources.

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